The Sun. The Surf. The Sand. The Swim. My excitement began to peak as we approached Claytor Lake and finally reached the beach. Dropping my bag and shoes, I ran straight into the water. I had just barely entered when the lifeguards frantically began blowing their whistles signaling that they had heard thunder. This means that we were all to stay out of the water until thirty minutes passed without any signs of thunder or lightning. I reluctantly left the warm water and planted myself on a spot in the sand with my friends. As my toes wiggled in the sand, I took a second to appreciate the gritty feeling beneath my feet. At that moment, I remember Dr. Tim Durham and his lesson on the different particles that make up soil: clay, silt, and sand. It was then that the realization struck me: I wasn’t just standing on a shore of a lake; I was standing in soil.
Soil serves as a catalyst for millions of tons of food to be produced every single year. Soil has grown the sustenance that we thoughtlessly consume daily. Soil that we as a society so often dismiss and incorrectly label as “dirt”. This “ecstatic skin of the Earth” as described by Dr. Durham on our very first week at Governor’s School is an unappreciated lifeline. This substance, composed of weathered rocks, serves as a medium for the recycling of raw material via the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, and phosphate cycle as it is a habitat for the microorganisms involved in these processes as well as a regulator for water supply and the atmosphere by holding liquid and sequestering carbon in addition to its value as a medium for plant growth and the associated environmental regulations. Soil is vital to the agricultural industry as a whole, but it is also undervalued.
*TWEEEEEET* The whistle sounded once again, and I ran back into the water.