The Buried Earth

by Charles Dodd White

Dying hands ultimately forced the gentleman doctor from practice. The pain seizures made the artful finesse of surgery impossible. His fingers became hooked and ruddy from the lack of circulation, as if they'd been dipped in blood. Each day sensation fled until he believed he could drive a ten penny nail though his palm without wincing. He grew old overnight, as he felt obsolescence enfold him like the smoky arms of an etherized dream.

After he grew weary of despair, the doctor pursued his hobby of gardening to beat back depression. It served him well as a therapeutic solution many years earlier when he suffered the death of his daughter in a freak automobile accident. Now, he returned to the loam of his expansive yard as though he were making an atonement for all the years lost in the routine demands of his occupation.

The clinging granules of soil awakened something sacred in his skin. He eagerly returned to the garden each morning, feeling strength rise from the earth. In time, his han