The Joys of Mud

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Spring is a great time for mud and since we’re adding on a room that required some digging, we’ve got plenty of mud to go around. My grandkids are loving it. They like sitting up on the dirt piles digging for treasure. Who knows what might be under the very next dirt clod? Gold maybe. Well, not likely. More likely at best a geode with a shiny middle or at worst, another dirt clod just like the one on top. But the kids don’t care.

They came out last weekend. It was warm and so the creek down below the house drew them like ants to sugar. Of course it didn’t take long before the mud was spattered all over all of us. The seven-year-old who is very neat by nature took off her shoes and plopped her feet right down in the muddy creek and let the mud squish up between her toes. You remember doing that, don’t you? Nothing quite like cool mud wrapping around your feet like socks and the sucking sound your foot makes when you lift it out of the mud. Of course the nine year old boy, well he was in kid heaven trying to catch tadpoles in the pond and dig new channels in the creek mud with a stick. Then the new dog, Oscar, knocked the two year old in the mud. She didn’t think that was fun at all. Guess she’s not quite old enough for some of the joys of mud.

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful. – E.E. Cummings, American poet, 1894-1962

So that got me to thinking about mud. When I was a kid one of our favorite things to do was make mud pies. Do kids do that any more? My sister and I had our own little outdoor kitchen with pans and spoons fenced off from the chickens . And we had fun.

Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure. – Charles Dudley Warner, American Editor and Author, 1839-1900

Of course other mud memories out on the farm aren’t so pleasant. We used to have to go to the barn and try to step on rocks to keep the cow stomped barnyard mud from swallowing us whole. Well, maybe we wouldn’t have really sunk to China, but I was never sure. If I happened to miss a rock and let my foot sink down in the mud sometimes I had to pull my foot out of my boot and balance on the other foot while I yanked my boot out of the mud. That mud was no fun at all. I didn’t find a quote to quite go with that experience. I’ll just let you picture a little girl half afraid of the cows, balancing precariously on a rock while tugging at a mud covered boot. And you’ve heard people talk about good clean mud. That mud wasn’t good clean mud. It was very used and yucky mud. Made a girl learn balance, though.

And now to the muddy thoughts a writer can sometimes think. I like the idea behind this quote.

“Writing is like walking in a deserted street. Out of the dust in the street you make a mud pie.” John LeCarre quotes (English Writer, b.1931)

I’m trying to stir up a lot of dust in that deserted street in my head right now so I can get that mudpie made. The new Shaker book is coming along, but there’s lots of dusty street yet to walk down before the end comes in sight.

I hope some of you have had fun getting the excerpts of Summer of Joy from It’s fun getting the e-mails and reading along with you and wondering what you might be thinking about this or that section. It’s a great way to sample a book and I’m hoping any readers sampling mine are going to want to read the “rest of the story.” I’m ready to respond to any questions or comments readers might post of the Reader forum.

Don’t forget my new book-giveaway. Send me an e-mail and I’ll put your name in the hat for Virginia Smith’s new Sister-to Sister book Age Before Beauty and my book Summer of Joy. No mud pies in my book, but I think Ginny’s character does a mud pack on her face. Now that’s something I’ve never done. No cucumber slices on the eyes or mud on the face – at least not in an attempt to make me more beautiful.

And remember the proverb “Don’t pray for rain if you’re going to complain about the mud.”