I’ve been planting gardens of one sort or another in about the same place for the past 30 years. Part of it had been a garden when we moved in, and part of it was an old building which we tore down after living at our place for a year.
Over those years, we’ve taken stones and glass and metal out of the soil every year. Some of it was from the building we tore down, some from buildings long ago forgotten, and some from various junk and farm equipment over the 150 or so years that people have lived at our place.
Last year, for the first time, I decided to keep all of the metal I harvested from the soil. The photo you see here includes a majority of what I found. Keep in mind that this is after 30 years of taking other pieces of metal out. It also doesn’t include an equal amount of glass pieces, plastic, rubber, etc.
Some of the metal is rusted beyond recognition. A lot of the metal consists of nails – many of them old square nails. One large gear and an angle iron spoke of machinery and building.
It’s easy to see the things through the lens of the here and now. It’s good, sometimes, to remember that other people once lived where we once lived. They maybe waited impatiently for warmer weather the way we do each spring. Maybe they pulled arrowheads out of the ground instead of metal pieces.
I’m sure they worked harder to get by than we do. Their garden was not a hobby, I’m sure, but a necessity. If there were children, perhaps it was their job to cultivate and weed the garden. Maybe they were the ones listening to the birds and daydreaming as they worked: the way I do now.
It’s good to be outdoors again, as spring eases forward. It’s good, too, to know that as we work in the soil that we’re following in the footsteps of so many others from so many years ago.