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The glory of mud

Mud gets a bad rap. It’s dirty. It’s messy. And it’s historically been the reason behind many matted shag carpets or smeary footprints on white linoleum.

But there’s another side of mud, the marvelous and miraculous side, that cannot go unnoted.

Oregon marsh mud/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Oregon marsh mud/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

A bee sting made my finger swollen, stiff and itchy. It hit its intolerable peak while I was in Moon Smoke Shop and I began rubbing it like a mad woman.

I mentioned it to the guy behind the counter because I had this strange feeling that the guys at Moon Smoke Shop, specifically the one on the corner of Grant Road and Alvernon Way, would know what to do for a bee sting. They did.

“Pack it in mud,” the manager/owner said. He explained this folk remedy supposedly sucked the stinger out as the mud dried.

While it may seem somewhat stupid to pack germy, wet dirt around a swollen bee sting sore, which was now ripped open after I tried to gouge out the invisible stinger with tweezers, I gave it a whirl.

More marsh mud/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
More marsh mud/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

The instant I packed the mud around the sore, the soothing began. The pulsing went down. It stopped itching. My finger felt like it was encased in a soft, cozy cocoon.

By the time the mud dried and flaked off, the swelling was gone and my finger could bend.

Mud not only sucks out bee stingers, but it is known to be equally effective for sucking other toxins from the body. Mud masks and mud wraps are in high demand, especially for the gads of tourists who flock to the ultra-healing black mud by the Dead Sea.

People are digging it (excuse the pun).

Even if you don’t care to heal yourself with mud, you can always wrestle in it, name your band Primus and write a song about it, or use it in the title of a poem:

Catapault/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
Catapault/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Soap Would be the Opposite of Mud
The Antonym Poem by Ryn Gargulinski

insects are
the opposite of frogs
(if we had to pick opposites)
cats would be the opposite
of dogs and fish would be
the opposite of birds and
hats would be the opposite
of shoes and the Charleston
would be
as opposed to
an epileptic seizure


Since arid Tucson is not usually known for its mud, I’ll share the recipe I used to make my own.
Mud recipe:
2 parts dirt
1 part water
Stir well with stick

Mud, o glorious, mud/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Mud, oh glorious mud/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Of course, mud still has its dangers. We already discussed the havoc it can wreck on shag rugs and white linoleum, but it can also pose a number of other hazards.
• Mudslides kill thousands when they slickly shimmy down a mountain and consume entire villages
• Mud can suffocate you if you fall face down in a gushy pool of it and try to inhale
• Heavy mud can suck off your shoes and render them useless
• Mud clumps, when thrown at anyone who scores on you as goalie in a soccer game, get you a red card (not that I’d know from experience).

Share your own mud recipe below!

How has mud enhanced or ruined your life?



What do you think?

0 thoughts on “The glory of mud

  1. Mornin’ Rynski! Ah mud, loved to play in it, throw it, make pies with it,(to throw also). It makes a fine patina on your dads’ freshly painted garage wall. Dad was not impressed with my impressionist rendering. (butt still hurts from that one) I’ve always thought Muddpuppy was a cool name for a band. What part of Oregon? Got a brother in Ashland.

  2. No! Think Primus! My Name is Mud.

  3. Mornin’ RadMax – so very happy to hear you enjoy mud as much as I’m coming to. Even happier to hear you graced a garage wall with your impresssionist art (haha). I, too, have bad memories of artwork on a garage wall. I drew Snoopy with black marker on a freshly painted white.
    Oregon – I lived in Brookings, which is the farthest south and west you can get in the state. I heard Ashland is full of hippies and very fun.
    Mudpuppy – not only cool name for a band but also very endearing creatures. Those things are cute.

  4. I love that song. It is now running through my head. But Mudpuppy, too, is a good name for a band even though they may not sing about being named Mud.

  5. Yeah, bro is quite the hippie. A darn good RN also. Heading down Arivaca way today. I’m gonna check out this mythological Moondance Saloon of yours, also do a little scouting of potential ATV trails for a little trip I’m planning…I’ll get some pics and let you know if it really is snappy or crappy. 🙂 Sometimes I love my job…

  6. OK, RadMax, you are now non-officially the official snappy or crappy correspondent for the Arivaca trip. Yes, keep me posted on the ATV trails. And if there are any boats in the area (haha).

  7. RADC – Be sure to carry some extra water in case you should come across any lost migrants in Arivaca.  Say hi to the guy that runs the little feed store in town.  He always gave us the finger whenever we passed through and I came to get a kick out of his consistency. 

  8. Mornin’ Lefty- I’ll give you guys a full report, ASAP. PS- Can’t imagine why that guy didn’t like you, passing by daily with a hippy van full of illegals…. Adios muchachos y muchachas.

  9. Hey Ryn, don’t some of those beauty spas use mud packs? I hear they are fairly expensive.  I once bought (as a gift) a NZ thermal mud soap bar.

  10. Love mud! When you grow up in Tucson, mud was a great way to play and cool off, then Mom would hose me down.

  11. The secret is in the clay, 5 lbs for a buck, just add water.

  12. Mud is the most commonly used building material in the world.   1/3 of all people on earth live in structures made from mud!  For 3900 years, everyone here in Tucson lived in buildings made from mud.   Can you tell  I wrote my masters thesis on Mud?
    Romeo, my “Captcha” test is asking me to spell Claypool!

  13. Well, I got some good news, and I got some bad news. Good news is the town of Arivaca has not lost any of its 1890s’ charm. Very friendly folks. Now the bad news Rynski….these same wonderful people looked at me like I was speakin’ Swahili and just got off the short bus when I asked them about The Moondance/C-Dance saloon! Never heard of it! Lefty-I might have run into your old timer. Guy about oh….185 or so? Smart A.. that I am, I asked this old coot if he knew anybody named Leftfield. “Don’t know no g-dam Leftfield! If I did, g-dam sure wouldn’t tell you!( kept me smiling all the way back to town) Must be the same guy. Hey, the Gadsden Coffee Co. is still in operation, two  friendly guys running it.Pretty doggone good coffee and sandwiches too. Still have the sing along with the band on Sat. Nice Blue Heeler too. I have some pictures I’ll email to Rynski-maybe she will post them with her retraction story…          🙂

  14. Dr Invento, that’s too weird cuz mine said brown beaver as in Wynonna’s Big Brown!

  15. Sounds like you had a good time, despite the lack of your findings.

  16. haha! love all the comments, and here goes my responses:
    RadMax – Thanks for your diligent report. Maybe the Moondance/Cdance is one of those top secret places that you have to know a friend of an insider of a barber of a friend – and not just some swearing old grouchy man – to get into? Love the pix you phone-mailed. Please send via regular e-mail and yes, I can post some for the enjoyment of all.
    Dr Invento – Awesome thesis topic. Will trade you a copy of your mudhut findings for a copy of my thesis on occupational folklore of NYC subway workers. (Mine has a severed head billowing smoke out of its nostrils while its stuck to the third rail!)
    AZMouse – cooling off in mud is better, even, than those fire hydrants kids break open in the streets of brooklyn
    Carolyn – Yes, mud is sold as a costly mixture at some high end and other spas. Good stuff. Hope your gift recipient liked the mud soap. I enjoy mud the most when it’s free because I’m cheap. Or at least I’d rather spend my money on new shoes than dirt and water.
    To all: Thanks for your fine input on mud. I am so tickled I am not alone in my fascination for the stuff.

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