I recall that as I young child I loved to play in the dirt. Not just a kiddy sandbox, but real soil, mud, down on your hands & knees dirt. I'd make roads for toy cars and trucks, dig holes, make mud, create "castles", dig for worms. I disliked being indoors and was far happier being outside, preferably in the woods. I was always happy when I was doing something in the dirt.
I was raised in a family of five kids. Not all of us liked to play in the dirt. So I wonder if I was some how genetically programmed to be attracted to soil, thus to farming. Perhaps something physically in soil triggered my genetic switch at an early age. Who knows. Perhaps it was some particular micro organism.
To this day I like working with soil. I enjoy the feeling of good soil flowing through my fingers. I don't mind getting dirty. Walking barefoot through a freshly rototilled garden is a pleasure. Good moist soil even smells good, not just looks good to me.
I'm often approached by others who wish to return to a simpler life on a small farm. Or maybe if not farming, then at least a nice garden. One of the questions I pose to them is how do they relate to soil. Do they enjoy the feel, smell, a look of garden soil? Would they be willing to lay down on fresh tilled soil and take a nap in the sun? Would the thought be enjoyable? Would they enjoy taking off their shoes and socks to stand or walk in soil? When I think about it now, it would be impossible for me to be a farmer if I didn't like soil.
I currently oversee a small community garden. Some of the people who have come there decidedly don't like soil. They dislike getting their clothing getting soiled and try to avoid getting their hands dirty. Guess what. They seldom last more than one day. But on the other hand the garden has several workers who obviously have a connection with soil. Besides getting dirty, I've watched them working with the soil. Some of those people like to dig, some like getting down on their hands and knees to groom the soil surface and plant seedlings, others run their fingers along the surface and gently smooth it before sowing seeds. It's nice to watch others enjoy the soil. They have the hearts of growers.
If it turns out that we gardeners and farmers are infected with soil micro organisms, well in my opinion, it's a very nice infection to have!