Words of Wisdom: I can dig it…

Contributing Editor Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor Walt Pickut

If you can remember the Hippie days, or if you’ve seen some really bad movies, you remember how that phrase finishes: I can dig it, Daddio! Groovie, right?

It’s a great way to say things that you can deny it if somebody doesn’t dig what you said.

It can mean something as simple as “I understand,” or “I like it.” Or it can be something more nuanced, like “I can relate to you there,” or “I sympathize”, or even “I’m OK with whatever you say!”

And if you hear Jim Croce say it, there’s no other definition you need. “If you dig it, do it. If you really dig it, do it twice.”

But as this week’s cover story contributor, Joni Blackman, reminds us, “Life is a garden. Dig it!” In other words, this Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day and Springtime is starting to blossom in just about everybody’s garden. Happy Earth Day!

This Spring, however, is a little different because so many of us are coming down with cabin fever. We’re staying home, not going out to work, and missing our friends. Next Spring will be better, for sure, but this one might be a little harder to dig right now.

So, if you need some therapy, try gardening. It’s much cheaper than therapy. And besides, you get tomatoes.

This year, Earth Day 2020 brings us its own medicine. Try a prescription from Canadian poet Margaret Atwood: “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

On the other hand, how about some other ways to celebrate Earth Day. All around the world people have come up with their own unique festivals. Consider these:

  • WNBR was created in San Francisco a few years ago to protest oil spills in the Bay. But the connection between this festival and oils spills is hard to dig. WNBR stands for World Naked Bike Ride, an annual clothing-optional event on April 22nd.
  • Also in California—why are we not surprised—the first Earth Day in 1970 almost didn’t happen in Los Angeles. One councilman, James B. Potter, warned that it fell on Vladimir Lenin’s 100th birthday and could promote Soviet-type communism. Jim just couldn’t dig it for Earth Day!
  • And in Santa Ana, students held a funeral procession for Mother Earth and buried a globe while Santa Monica students buried a car engine.

Our own Earth Day, however, will probably be spent a little better, but at or close to home. So what could be better than a garden? It can help to remind us of growth and recovery from the darker days—whether of Winter or Covid-19—by simply digging in a garden. Welcome the sunshine, grow new roses, bright daffodils, and even big, red tomatoes.

Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet and philosopher of the early 20th century, offers us one more way to understand the great worth of Earth day. He reminds us:

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Enjoy your Earth Day this year, and, as always, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.