Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tracking In The Earth

Here's a strange bit of paranoia I have -- although I prefer to think of it simply as environmental awareness -- the daily fear of losing my yard, and ultimately the earth, by tracking it in or throwing it away.

It goes like this: There are dirt sections in my yard, thanks to the drought. How I long for the old days, when we had ground cover! But then climate change happened, the drought took hold, and now my precious grass (and even weeds are precious when it comes to ground cover) is gone, leaving behind exposed dirt.

First, then, quite apart from me there could be wind erosion. I hate driving by a field and seeing the sky full of dirt. Because, since wind generally comes from the west, once your field blows east, you really have to be lucky to get an east wind to blow it back home. Also, there's water erosion. But with my yard, it can only go from one place to another.

I hate erosion with a purple passion, even though I honor the Grand Canyon. The erosion that happens these days doesn't have a positive benefit. This is true of my yard, which of course I'm most concerned with.

Now, about the tracking in. If it rains, then I go out in my boots, and I notice I'm tracking in bits of the yard that are now gone. Or it gets on my dog's feet and has to be wiped off on a paper towel. A thousand years of that and my yard will be a hole 40 feet deep! The other notable way I'm losing bits of yard is by picking up her poop. Without grassy ground cover, if you go to pick up poop, you have a great chance of picking up a teaspoon (at least) of dirt. Again, a thousand years goes by and the place is a gravel pit.

It seems almost trivial, but I'm taking it seriously. I get the poop at the edge of a sack, then try to knock out any dirt, trying to get as much as I can back on the yard. I said it seems trivial, because if you compared it with heavy machinery, trucks and scoops, literally digging gravel pits or excavating for sod, this is nothing. But those guys are in the business of moving earth and I'm not. I'm just a guy with a yard.

I recognize, naturally, that if I displace dirt on my boot, it's not truly lost from the earth. It might be in the garbage, it might become dust and blow down the road. Whatever. But my concern remains, it's not in my yard, and it's not doing me any good. It might get in someone's eye and cause a wreck.

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