The Land and The Blues

December 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

excerpt from published book 100 Ways to Beat the Blues by Tanya Tucker and friends.

©The Land and The Blues

written for Phil Richardson by Sandy Richardson

My first memories are of my dad telling me about our family’s history and showing me the land where my ancestors lived.  For generations, they built their homes, raised their families, and worked the land in the midlands of South Carolina.  So I suppose it is no surprise that I, too, would turn to the land for my livelihood.

After thirty years in the landscaping business, people still ask why I do it.  It’s hard work.  Dirty work, and totally unpredictable as a means of making a living.  But my answer is always the same.

I love it.

And it’s the best cure I know for the blues.  The feel and smell of that rich soil touches something on a visceral level, becomes a part of my being…binds me to it—like        blood.  It is a part of me, and I am a part of it just as certainly as my ancestors who now rest beneath its weight.

This land is my past, my present, and my future.  In it, I find solace I can’t get behind a desk or glass-enclosed office.  On down days, and particularly on Sunday afternoons, my wife and I ride its sun-dappled roads, wander under the moss-draped oaks and towering Carolina pines.  I can see what I planted thirty years ago and know I’ve made a difference.

But so has the land.  And I am in awe of it—awe that it takes my sweat, my labor, and nurtures what I plant, so that for years to come, I see my mark on it and feel it’s mark on me, and know there’s no time or reason for the blues.  It goes on.


***Phil Richardson is the descendant of six South Carolina governors and lives and works in his beloved sand hills of South Carolina with his wife, author Sandy Richardson, and their two children.

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