Monday, June 13, 2016

162. Getting Dirty

I read an article last week about how autoimmune disorders are on the rise in the twenty-first century. Stuff like celiac disease and diabetes have increased among those living in developed countries. This line from the article struck me:

Perhaps society-wide shifts in these microbial communities, driven by changes in what we eat and in the quantity and type of microbes we’re exposed to in our daily lives, have increased our vulnerability.

It didn’t have to do with diet, or the use of hand sanitizer, it really came down to just exposure to the different types of microbes one encounters early in life. My immune system is probably set for life, I think I have a pretty good one, so I probably don’t need to worry about this too much.
But I thought about it this past weekend when I was at my parents house.

I just bought a new iPhone and was dinking around with it at my parent’s house. I was synching things between computers, setting up passwords, downloading apps, you know, the stuff you NEED to do. It was also a very nice day out.  A little hot for my taste, but not all that miserable.

I decided to go outside. I wanted to do something to stimulate my immune system, instead of watching a screen, which is what I normally do all day. My mom was working in the garden and I asked if she needed any help. She said the raspberries could use some of the compost spread on it, so that’s exactly what I did.

I went down to our backyard compost pile, which we’ve been adding to basically ever since we’ve lived in Wyoming. I took the pitchfork leaning up against the black plastic container and spread it around. There were orange peels, corn husks, coffee grounds, egg shells, shreds of paper, and probably lots of other things that decomposed better. (Lettuce and corn husks do not decompose well, maybe it has something to do with the fibers?)

I loaded up a couple of loads from the wheelbarrow and moved it to our small bushel of raspberry plants. My mom said she got one, yes *one*, raspberry from our half-dozen plants last year. Raspberries are kind of a pain to walk through, so I sort of heaved the dirt from a low level to cover the base of every plant. It wasn’t taxing work, but it was nice to get outside and stimulate my immune system. (At least I think that’s what I was doing.) It wasn’t all that long, or arduous work, but it felt good to get a little dirty on a nice day. I should do that more often.

This is one thing I worry about in the future. I think our tendency to flock towards people, places, and things that don’t challenge us is dangerous both mentally and physically. Granted, it’s enjoyable in your own tribe and it has it’s benefits. But we miss something when we fear getting a little dirty.

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