There is nothing that is at one and the same time more public and more intimate than the soil. It is everything there is, ground down to digestible pieces, caught up under our nails, between our teeth, inhaled into our lungs as the wind kicks into the highest of gears, bringing any structures smaller than those very particles back to the ground. Constantly reshaping and reshaped. Immanently touched by human hands—poisoned, particulate, permeable, promiscuous. Soil is loyal to itself, to the microscopic organisms it feeds, to the infinite, infinitesimal life possibilities it nurtures. Soil is too busy to bother with you. Soil is not for one lifetime but for the ages.

This is a good thing. This is the only thing. If it were not so, all would already be lost.

Soil, even as it is deconstructed, will not be distracted by the noise, the terror, the malign neglect. The ravages of purposeful silence, of unconscionable ignorance. The soil may be occupied for a time, but the soil will not be militarized. The soil knows that the map is not the territory, and the soil takes the long view.

You will by absolute necessity be caught up by the rage, the unfolding of inexplicable inhumanity. And so you should be. Your only consolation will be this: It does not matter to the soil. It is always there. It will remain, grinding down until the quiet returns, the winds have calmed, the water has cleared, the coral begins to recover, and the fish emerge from their hiding places in the deep shelters of the rocky edges. When the rains that fall are gentle and timely and taste like grass and smell like almonds at the sandy blue limits of eternity. That sand will run riot with grapes because it cannot help itself. With trees that continue to grow sideways because that is simply how it is for now, bursting with blossoms that are three different colors before they are done. With limes that are not limes, with uninvitingly husked fruits that have no right to be delicious if looks were any hint, but still are.

Soil offers no comfort, except its constancy. But it is constant. Unlike stalled and stagnant operations at a larger scale, it is active, it is ever-moving, it is seeking out the path forward. The soil is the rooting, the refreshing, the resistance that is needed.

The soil will bring the renewal, in spite of all there is.

“We know that we will inherit nothing more than ruins, because the bourgeoisie will try to ruin everything in their final phase. But we are not afraid of ruins, because we carry a new world in our hearts. That world is growing even in this very moment.” (Trans. Alexa Dietrich, with thanks to Claudia Sofía Garriga-López; Image credit: Claudia Sofía Garriga-López)