Saturday, October 27, 2012

touching the earth

When I went to bed Friday night the fan was on and the windows were open. Sometime in the hours before dawn, a cold front blew in. Roused from sleep, I reached down to the foot of the bed and pulled the quilt up. At some point I became aware of Marc getting up to turn off the fan and again to close the windows.

It was overcast, cold, and blustery all day. 57˚ at the time I wrote this with a predicted low of 49˚ for that night, it was a winterish day. Today, Saturday, it is still overcast, cold (currently 50˚) and blowy. It looks like it's clearing up though.

I've been in the habit of picking up pecans once a day, getting anywhere from half of a gallon sized bucket's worth to a full one, but Friday was the first chance I had since Monday. I picked up two full buckets and then later, when I went out to water the garden, I stuffed my pockets full to bulging with the ones that were in my path that had fallen since. My one full box of pecans has become two.

I've abandoned my careful criss-crossing of the yard. I'm bored with that. I used to think of it as my pecan labyrinth. Lately I cover the yard in a more snaky fashion, wandering whither I go but eventually covering the entire field of interest. I think. It's still a labyrinth of sorts, I guess, though it has no structure at all.

I still contemplate stuff while I walk and I look forward to it not only for the goodness of the pecans that I'm collecting but also for the contact with the earth. I walk barefoot letting that energy flow up and into my feet. I need direct contact with the earth. I guess that's why I like to garden, to get out there and dig.

This lack of contact with the earth, the trend of living ever cleaner and more sterile lives, lives that are spent more and more indoors completely cut off from the planet that we sprang from, is, in my pet theory, one of the main reasons the human race has gone insane. And surely we must be insane considering all the damage we do to the ecosystem that we depend on for our very lives. Not to mention all the damage we do to each other.

Walking barefoot, digging in the dirt, wandering the woods and prairies, paddling the rivers, sleeping on the ground under the stars, these are the times when I have felt most serene. Being in touch with the earth, being covered in the earth, breathing the earth, absorbing the life and energy and magnetism of the planet keeps me centered. It's why, I guess, whenever I am unhappy or angry, my first impulse is to go outdoors, to let all that negative emotion drain away.

So while I am not sad to see the intense heat of summer fade away, I am less than excited about the cold winter days to come when I must, finally, for comfort's sake, put on shoes and limit my time outdoors.


  1. i loved this post. beautifully written and very true. :)

  2. This really is a beautiful post Ellen. I do think the world has gone mad.

  3. People have always been insane. Back when we didn't have sufficient shelter, we went haywire to protect ourselves. Now we have too much shelter.

    I love it that your pecan walk has become snake like. That is SO right!

  4. Maybe that's why so many have SAD. I am most content when I am in my gardens.

  5. Nice thoughts, I had a similar experience a few nights ago, but just gathered under the blankets more. I turned on the heat tonight.

  6. I hear you! I do think people suffer for a lack of contact with the earth. Even in my urban environment, I go to the park all the time just to sit on the grass. A lot of people don't even do that.

  7. What a wonderful post. Alas I am one who finds it necessary to limit my time out of doors...due to severe allergies and a land filled with cactus and tumbleweeds. Ha

    But I do go for a walk everyday and just enjoy the clean fresh air.

    Walk barefoot for me, k??

  8. I think you are absolutely right about the cause of our "insanity." And snaking through the pecans is an interesting choice of words considering your barefoot adventure a while back.

  9. I will definitely miss being able to sit in our swing & watch sparrowpalooza in the back yard. I never go barefoot back there though because the ground is hard as concrete & lumpy with it. I'll just have to wait until next spring & walk barefoot in my dad's yard :)

  10. This read like a post that might have been written by Barbara Kingsolver. Have you read "Prodigal Summer"? It's one of my all time favourite books. I loved the sense that, while reading it, I was deeply connected with the environment and the people in it. I wish I could wander my back yard barefoot but the prickles are winning as summer approaches. Good news is that my vegetable patch is going gangbusters and there is a great crop of tomatoes ripening. Barefoot at the beach is my kind of heaven.

  11. Congrats on your POTW and so glad that Hillary sent me this way. What a lovely read.

  12. How true this is Ellen. Barefoot-ness is fabulous, although I imagine stepping on pecans might be a bit like walking over the acorns in our back yard. (How I wish they were pecans.)


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