Time to Touch the Earth

Over at the ever-inspiring Root Simple, there’s a great post extolling the virtues of going barefoot. Mrs. Homegrown, aka Kelly Coyne, decries the way we force our feet into little hard boxes instead of letting them directly mediate the surface below.

She offers steps for learning “fox walking.” It’s a form of mindful walking where your feet become your antennae.

I have a friend who does this intuitively. Recently when she and I picked strawberries together, she kicked off her shoes to navigate the strawberry patch–which was a veritable thicket of growth, with thistles poking up here and there. I did not join her in shoelessness, but I admired her mindful treading.

Here’s beloved poet Mary Oliver taking it even further:

Deep in the woods, I tried walking on all fours. I did it for an hour or so, through thickets, across a field, down to a cranberry bog. I don’t think anyone saw me! At the end, I was exhausted and sore, but I had seen the world from the level of the grasses, the first bursting growth of trees, declivities, lumps, slopes, rivulets, gashes, open spaces.

I was some slow old fox, wandering, breathing, hitching along, lying down finally at the edge of the bog, under the swirling rickrack of the trees.

—From “Staying Alive” in Blue Pastures

The swirling rickrack of the trees. I just love her.

I’m off for a much-needed woods ramble. My head is full of worries about desertification, GMOs, and the destruction of carbon sequestering peat bogs in Ireland. I need to step away and touch the earth.

Perhaps I will shuck my shoes. And if you see someone on her hands and knees, just blow a kiss and keep going.

The Mighty Will Fall

In just a few hours the March Against Monsanto begins here in Indianapolis. On the march’s worldwide Facebook page, New Zealand, Australia and Japan are already representing. At last count nearly 300,000 people in 58 countries worldwide were committed to taking a stand today.

Why march? Pick your reason.

  • We march for freedom and self-determination in the face of Monsanto’s monopoly over the world’s food supply.
  • We march to protect both human health and the earth we love from dangerous genetically modified organisms.
  • We march to refute the insane notion that it is possible to patent life.
  • We march to protest the insidious cronyism in the U.S. government, where ex-Monsanto executives are in charge of ensuring the safety of what we ingest–and are designing laws that make Monsanto basically immune to any legal counterattack.

One of my sheroes, Vandana Shiva, says it all in this video.

I’ve said “we”–but disappointingly, my body is not yet back in marching shape. My marching will have to be done through these pixels, and through the seeds I plant and save, and through the petitions and letters I sign, the calls I make.

Funny thing: I thought I was brought down by something tiny, the fangs of a wee arachnid. Turns out it was something even smaller, the lowly bacterium.

More accurately, bacteria. That is, a community of bacterium. Right? My medical consult is sleeping at the moment, but I think that is right. A community of teeny tiny organisms has brought me pretty much to a standstill.

By Mkaercher, via Wikimedia Commons

By Mkaercher, via Wikimedia Commons

Do the words “small but mighty” come to mind?

What I take from this is the strength of the collective. Monsanto may be monied, powerful, backed by government insiders, seemingly invincible–but WE have each other. We have our passion and our deep concern for the future. We have our love, as Shiva says, for “freedom and democracy, love for the Earth, the soil, the seed.”

All of which gives us the capacity to fan out and fell this giant.

Let’s do this thing.