Necessary to a happy childhood.
I had plenty. It was always so dry (the desert itself was in the throes of drought). The grass was tough and yellow; it hurt me to walk around barefoot. I did occasionally, and everytime was stung.
It was wet enough out to find pollywogs in ditches and puddles, and wet enough to know the sweet sting of chlorine in my nose.

There was an empty lot next to my house; literal-minded as we were, we called it the Dirt Hills. A good half-acre of dusty bike trails and sagebrush; this is where all the shit went down.
Cat fights, involving both human and feline species.
I saw the neighborhood bully spit tobacco into the dirt; at the time, I didn't know what he was doing. I murdered stinkbugs, rather cruelly, yes.
Built snowforts, weather permitting.
I sang,
"Nobody likes me
Everybody hates me
Think I'll go eat worms
This is where Brandon hit my ass with a stick he found.
DirT! my favorite childhood toy (besides legos!)

Making an imaginary island out of a random selection of dirt with the neighbor kid, getting out our creek inner tubes, plopping them down in the dirt and scooting ourselves over to the other imaginary dirt island. Gauranteed to make you dirty and get your butt grass stained! One of the many strange imaginary games I remember.

Once while helping my brother make this remote control truck race track, i accidentally picked up a snake. It was a black snake with pink belly. It fit perfectly in my hand and didn't move. I can still smell the dirt.
We were living in an old Airstream trailer with a wood stove that filled the interior with smoke whenever it was lit. I was maybe 7, my brother and sister 5 and 4. When it rained, a hollow in front of the trailer filled up with water and we would dance around in it like naked madthings.

It was a building site, so there were always piles of dirt around. When a foundation was being dug, we would grab sticks and cardboard tubes and re-enact scenes from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, pushing our fingers into smooth sides left by the earth movers to create control panels, thermal exhaust ports and reactor cores.

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