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The Essence of Dirt
It had always been there, for as long as I could remember. No one talked about it, acknowledged it, stood in it, or did anything to it, and for this reason, I was drawn to it. Guess what? It was a mud pit. Just a stinking pit of mud. But for some reason, all I wanted to do was step in it so that my footprint could be seen in the future, a square inch of land that only my foot had stepped on.
I know it seems disgusting. Why would anyone want to go near a mud pit, much less step in it? Perhaps this was my way of rebelling against society, but at the age of four, that’s not likely. As I thought about this, I gathered up the courage to go and step in the pit, for many times before I had chickened out.
The cause of my hesitation was due to the fact that I had super cool looking shoes, ones that would light up. As far as I was concerned, this was the hottest thing to hit the city of Cupertino in four whole years, that being my life span so far. But soon, I managed to agree with the voice in my head, saying that stepping on the mud and having a mark on the earth made solely by me would be better than getting a little dirt on my shoes. Great logic for a toddler, I know, because ruining some shoes was worth it if you stepped in mud with them.
When I finally made up my mind, curiosity driving my mad thirst to see my footprint on the ground, feel the, uh, muddy(?) mud, delve into the work of art created by Mother Nature that is dirt, I decided to do it. Yeah, there might have been something wrong with me. Even so, I trudged forward, thinking of a way to get out of the house without my mom noticing. I did my best “sneaky tippy-toes”, and tried to go unseen past my mother, who was in the kitchen. The thing about our house was that if you were in the kitchen, you could just pull up the blinds and have a view inside all the rooms except the bedrooms, which was unfortunate for me. Being a four year old, I tried my best, but I was not wearing socks so the sound of my foot peeling of the floor drew my sister’s attention. I was obviously going outside, and before she told on me, I shushed her. I then retreated to my room, but then had an idea. I grabbed a candy bar, and went to my sister’s room, where she sat in her chair with an evil smile.
“You got the good stuff?”, she said, “‘cause if you don’t, I can always tell mommy.”
Without a word, I tossed the candy bar in her face, which was our compromised payment for not snitching, and tried again to exit the house.
I sneaked past the kitchen, able to see the door, fully ready to try again, when I heard the wailing sounds of failure.
“Chiran, where are you going?”, said the embodiment of evil, aka my mother.
“Uuuuuh, to, um, play?” I replied guiltily.
“Fine”, my mother said, unbeknownst to my guilt, “You can go outside, but only if you practice piano, do your homew-”
“Aaarrrrgh. Fine. I’ll do it.”
So I wasted an hour doing my chores, but I finally was able to exit the house. It was totally (not) worth it. I walked outside, trying hard not to be noticable, but my mouth curving upwards no matter how hard I tried to keep it cool. I walked towards the mud pit, going slowly, trying to not look at it.
Although I reached it in a couple of seconds, it felt like hours, as moving down the road of rebellion can possibly change the way one perceives time. Or not. But as I neared the mud pit, a flicker of doubt ran down my spine, stopping me in my ultimate run of freedom. Is this worth it? Oh yeah, by the way, the mud pit was a circular area about three feet in diameter in the middle of the yard, with the wet water from a recent rain bearing down on it. It was mushy, and looked nasty to all other than flies, which swarmed in the air above it, so you can see why I hesitated.
I made it, though, and decided to get it over with as quick as possible, celebrating my bravery and success later. I tenderly held my foot right over the mud pit, trying to be as careful as possible not to fall, not to ruin this precious moment. I held my breath, not just to show witness to this great time in history, but also because the mud pit was smelly. My foot slowly dropped, and after what felt like minutes, hit the ground with a wet slop.
“Ugh, nasty.”, I said, stating the obvious.
I thought of retreating, but once I had placed my foot in, I couldn’t go backwards only to lead a trail of mud on a path of victory. (Quote me, 2017) I moved onwards, and with a sickening squelch both my feet were attached to the mud. I tried to walk forward and jump in joy, but as soon as I tried to move, my foot slipped, and I staggered on one foot, almost falling into the mud.
I realized right then that there was a flaw in my “great plan”. I COULDN’T GET OUT OF THE MUD WITHOUT SLIPPING!!!!!
I thought about this for a couple seconds as my shoe slowly drowned, engulfed in water. The gears in my mind turned, but there must have been a screw loose because the only thing that popped out was the dumbest idea in the world. It was still the only idea I had, so I just did it. I pulled of the jacket I was wearing, and I didn’t heroically lasso a tree like some of you are probably thinking. Instead, I merely dropped it on the ground and walked over it.
No, I’m not kidding. It seemed perfectly reasonable to me. I cry. Still, I took of my jacket, a blue and red zip-up with a picture of a racecar on it. I peeled it off, stretched it out as best as I could, and swung it onto the ground, flicking mud everywhere and creating a sound like someone hitting a, um, box filled with mud. So much for my ultimate simile. Or maybe metaphor; I always get confused between the two. Anyhow, smiling with glee, I pull my right foot out of the mud, and groaned, for it was caked in dirt. Nevertheless, I put it on the very edge of the sleeve of the jacket, and leaned my weight on it, getting most of the mud on it but cleaning my shoe as well. I repeated this with my left foot, jumping on it to get outside the pit, and wiping it off on the ground. I ran around on the wet grass, smiling proudly and trying to get as much dirt off my shoes so that my Mom wouldn’t get mad at me for ruining them. After a couple more seconds of running around in the grass, I looked back at the jacket, now completely brown and dirt-filled. I ran over to it, and with at least some common sense I grabbed it by a dry end and pulled it off.
After I pulled my now disgusting jacket off the mud pit, I cried a victorious “Hooray!’, while tossing my jacket in the air, something I had seen people do on a TV show I watched. That was not very smart, because whatever wasn’t covered in mud was now coated by flecks of it. I still celebrated my amazing victory, a feeling of glory racing through me, illuminating me amongst everything else; the grass, the dirt, the, uh, more dirt. And mud. I went to look at my footprint in the mud, and deemed my mission successful, and so I danced around while singing the Power Rangers theme song.
Until my mother opened the door and saw my mud-filled jacket, my wet, brown, shoes, and me, dancing around like a lunatic.
Thinking back to that day, I realize that it wasn’t one of my brightest moments. But the way I thought of the world around me, taking the ugliest of things and seeing the beauty in them is something I try to keep doing to this day, something I wish for the world to do better of.