By Growing Places Indy Intern, Audrey Brinkers:
I used to hate soil. I didn't like the way it crowded my cuticles, making my boyish hands look more masculine. I didn't like the way it morphed into a slimy residue, shimmering on my arms, forehead, and even the skin behind my ears. I didn't like its unknown contents, consisting of everything from bugs to twigs to the remains of my deceased labrador. And I didn't like its plainess in comparison to the beautiful vegetables and flowers that burst forth from its boring brown expanse. But from a challenging Enivronmenal Science class, my time spent with the Herron High School Garden Club, and, finally, my internship at Growing Places, I've learned the wonders of soil, allowing me to appreciate every grain of silt, sand, or loam.
I admire now my dirty hands, rough from a day of pulling thistle. I've gotten used to sweat and mud combinations, and am finally (after eighteen years) able see the reason in showering. I find it fascinating that soil holds so much, each horizon offering a different composition. And I've realized that soil isn't quite so plain. If I've gained anything from the garden, it's the knowledge that those simple things are more complex than I've ever antipated, and I'm eager to learn it all.
Audrey graduated in 2010 from Herron High School, and she will be attending Reed College in the Fall.