I've often been asked in the past whether I, like mother and grandmother before me, caught the "green thumb". I've always shook my head, no, not in my interests.
What I was never told is that to obtain my green thumb, I first required my brown thumb. Brown for the half moons of soil beneath my fingernails. The mess smeared on my socks, jeans, and sweater. The dark undergrowth of roots after being pulled. The heaps of tangled weeds I spent hours gathering. The worms, beetles and bugs, surprised to suddenly see the sun.
Before the beauty - the flourish and the blooms - comes the dirt. Before green comes brown.