1) I've been lucky enough to have never had to do much manual labor in my life. So, digging and shoveling has been a rarity in my life until this point. Each of the past gardens I've started were rototilled before planting, so everything was mixed up into who knows what sort of random soil configuration. It's interesting as I dig down in the beds to see that worms actually leave tunnels under the soil. I am actually surprised, but maybe that's just incredibly naive.
2) I've gotten close up views of roots. When I chopped down all that remained of the garden on Friday, all the roots were left intact. I broadcast seeds pretty heavily when I planted in Spring 2010. I never took the time to thin out plants and was surprised by their apparent health. Now I know that even when plants are sewn too closely, they'll send their roots out at severely horizontal directions to the surface of the soil to find unused space. I mean, it makes sense that a plant would do what it needs to to get nutrition, but I am amazed by this example of self-preservation.
3) I am amazed at the amount of plastic in my soil. It's somewhat disconcerting, but I guess rationally I should know that plastics decompose very slowly and pose little risk. It's just weird to see such prevalent bits of plastic in my soil. I'm guessing that it's there because I used city-provided compost in Spring 2010 which is made from leaves and brush that is picked up curbside. It makes sense that people's household trash and pedestrian's cumulative littered waste would be prevalent in what is picked up curbside.