How soil becomes Human


Director of Life Rocks

Cover Image for How soil becomes Human
·5 min read

Eventually, everything becomes soil, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But Nature also does it in reverse. Soil becomes human. The first man, in the Christian faith, Adam, means "red clay", and duly, he was formed from the Earth by God. There are indeed many other worldwide myths of the primordial man being created by God from raw Earth. From Babylon, Greece, Australia, Peru, the Americas, Inuit and more - these cultures shared a similar story - man in some way was created out of the mundane, the dirt, the dust and the mud by his or her all-powerful creator. Whatever this truly organized force of Nature is that has allowed the complexity of the Human to stand on two feet, with the awareness that we have, is indeed a miracle that we still do not fathom. But what we do know is that humans eat food, and food comes from the ground, so really, we are re-organized soil. What are the stories we tell ourselves? What are the stories we tell our children? What are the stories that will be passed on? Just like we remember our ancestors lost to the passage of time, do we remember the soil we once were?

Similar to the "we are stardust" quote, except less glamorous and a little closer to home, is "we are dirt." it has a nice ring to it - don't you think? Although "we are dirt" may not be as catchy as "we are stardust", historically speaking, soil is a closer relative than stardust. So how do we make a simple truth, "We are soil."

Does it seem a more helpful story than "We Are Stardust' without coming across as pushy? The stories we tell ourselves and our children matter for the function that they serve. What does "We Come from Stardust" inspire you towards? Cosmic dreaming and whimsical notions of the transient, insignificant, voidable forever space that is the universe get conjured from meditating on the Nature of our personal stardust. What does "we come from dirt" inspire you towards? Earthly movements, cycles of organisms, seasons of weather, and the coalescing of organic life mingling with the mineral debris of the Earth's surface. Over and over and over. From sunrise til sunset. From this dance emerges the flame of the human mind and heart, somehow, somehow. No one knows the whole picture, but both 'stardust' and 'dirt' can be genuine, and both are more complete together than apart. We are stardust, which became our planet, a planet that harboured life in its waters, life which grew on the rocks of the Earth, rocks that exchanged themselves with the microorganisms of the Earth to fuel the progress of biology, which slowly formed the soils of the Earth, from which more and more advanced life grew, stretched, crawled, wriggled and wormed it's way from. This cascade of life that has emerged from soils has never stopped. Plants grow from the soil, animals eat the plants, and animals eat the other animals. And so this is life.

A cow is a brilliant example of soil becoming something other than soil very quickly. Grass grows fast over the spring; the cows eat a lot of grass, and in turn, they grow and grow or maintain their giant mass. Grass becomes steaks and milk in a matter of months. The process from soil into higher life is right before our eyes, moo-raculous. Are the religious myths really myths. . all of the 'humans from mud' rhetoric is indeed religious nonsense? How could the ancients know about soil science? Because simply -

It isn't rocket science. We watch cows eat grass and grow big. Even the primitives, the ancients, the primal knew that we have come from the Earth and shall return to it. Many ancestors also pointed to the stars. Both were right. So what do we moderns say? It is up to us to perpetuate a myth that serves some function, something to inspire, drive and will us towards the good things in life. Stardust, for me, is too far away. Soil, for me, is closer to home. It gets me thinking more. We come from our mother and our father, that's obvious. But our mother and father were standing ( or lying ) on something. A giant ball of conglomerated stardust called Earth. Not just any stardust, but the most organized ball of stardust science has ever known. Some stardust stands out above the rest. That's us.