This six-part blog series investigates the reasons why we have fallen out of love with soil (or at the very least taken it for granted) and how we can rekindle that relationship through an amended approach to the design and construction of our everyday places.
Soil and the City, Episode 2: Baggage: A Brief History of New Mexico's Love Affair with Soil
Despite notions that our soil is poor, infertile and degraded, New Mexico residents knowingly and unknowingly practice an intimacy with our soil unfamiliar to many parts of the world. We are embraced by adobe brick walls and nourished by food born from the soil.
If that's not love, I don't know what is. Soil permeates New Mexican existence even as we choose to ignore it. It keeps showing up when we least expect it.
So why dredge up the baggage of an age-old romance?
Our emotional response to soil is driven by our perspective. As JB Jackson said about the power of everyday places to enlighten us about ourselves, "It's a matter of learning how to see."1 Our future with soil depends on our ability to see its allure. We need to understand where we've been.
Natural time and scale in the Southwest are measured by geology. The human lifespan is barely a blip on the geologic screen. It's no wonder that we have trouble seeing how we relate to such slow moving processes. However, if we look through an architectural lens and agricultural traditions, the bond becomes more visible.