May 17th, 2010:Plant feet on the Earth and see what Grows

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise:  It is a new Spring cycle and time to shake off the winter doldrums here in Montana.  People are roto-tilling plots for backyard gardens and buying packets of seeds. Mulch and compost heaps may be part of anyone’s system of growing your own home produce.

It may frost again in these northern climes, (as I was told it did last June.)  I have seen greenhouses springing up. Some have sewn cotton sheeting to low accordion loops.   Some have plastic sheeting over bent rods making a space age Indian Lodge Longhouse for their plants.  Some think a rectangle of chicken-wire tacked to four-foot tall posts will be enough to keep out most foraging critters.  (I keep thinking of the birds!  An acquaintance in California has blueberry bushes and has enclosed them around and above to preserve his crop from the famished fowl!)

As I went barefoot into the garden after the loan of a friend’s tiller, my feet sank deliciously into the warm soil.  My task was carrots, beets, and beans between the labelled stakes.  We forgot to add the Miracle grow potting mix in the holes,  so I spread a good layer on top.  We hope the watering of those strips will soak the super nutrients to feed our seeds.

I recalled some Yoga and meditation exercises recommended bare feet on the earth.  The energy of the planet is to be imagined to rise up from your soles and spread its warm mothering spirit to every cell of your ‘earth body’.  Finally imagine the energy as a fountain spouting as a fine mist from the crown of your head and returning to the earth to complete and repeat the cycle of recharging.  I remember a song by Mark Stanton Walsh:  ” Solid on the earth, my roots go down…Grounded, solid,  feeling the energy tingle my feet, rising up to the heart of me!” Da, dum, da, dum…repeat!

I was feeling grounded until my friend asked me to close my eyes, then I was pushed forward without notice!  What?  Was he trying to push me over?  I even let him do the push thing three times more, once I even stumbled!  Finally he told me it was to find out which foot I tried to regain my balance by stepping forward first.  Thanks a lot!  Of what possible use is it to me to find out my right foot went out ahead of my left three out of four times?  Ah, well, if he wanted to know, I forgive him.  The flush of color the sun left on my cheeks and the compliment on my ‘rosy glow’ made the yard work a pleasant memory.

Gardening memories: ” Frog and Toad” books for kids had an episode where Frog planted seeds, but was puzzled when they didn’t immediately spring forth.  He assumed they were depressed and determined to sing and play music to encourage them.  Toad found him at it one night and asked why he was  doing it.  “Oh, look, it took two weeks, but the seeds finally got the courage to come up,” said Frog.  “Who knew that gardening was such hard work!”

Shovels may have been used to punish offenders as in the movie, “Holes”.  But years ago I put one into my kid’s hand and said, “Here you go.  Dig to China.”  I set him on the shoving edges and balanced him by reaching around and holding above his hands on the handle.  Then I gently rocked him back and forth as his weight bit into the earth.  Some weeks later I found trenches and pits in the backyard worthy of any anthropologist.  Or rather paleontologist.  He had found what we hailed as ‘dinosaur bones’ including a long jaw with teeth!  Ah!  What excitement!  Secrets the earth had hidden now became our treasure.  (So it may have been the first owner’s hound, I’ll never know.)

I was so tired after my morning planting that I took an afternoon nap.  But the sun was still out at 4:00 pm so I took a solitary turn at my 88-year-old mother’s patch of dandelions.  I only got up a third before quitting, but I was pleased to see the Iris and strawberry plants that my work revealed.  Now if only we can hook up the garden hose and get volunteers to accept the chore of watering.   Any takers?

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