I’ve got a new article at Elephant Journal.
Particularly meaningful for my Illinois friends, who are finally feeling some sun. Enjoy….
The way I see it, there’s two viewpoints regarding the act of digging worms from a plot of Earth: you love it, or it gives you the wiggles.
Let’s examine the affectionate point of view, which is held by many of the little folks. Imagine this, it’s mid-morning and you’re ready to play. You’ve watched the sun pour into your home from East-facing windows for hours. Hardwood floors gleam, dust motes dance and you know one thing will be true.
It feels real nice out there.
Where you want to be. Pull on some old galoshes and open-up-the- back-door. Don’t need sunglasses, don’t want a hat. Let the whole big sky wash down your curly hair; let the take-charge sun heat your little shoulders, your rounded back. Find a bit of exposed Earth, a place untouched by lawn, garden or landscape. This is where you’ll want to dig.
Crouch down low and feel the hello Earth welcome you, sending up a bit of shared warmth (she’s been out here all morning, soaking up your share). Poke a bit of dryness with your fingernail, wiggle your fingertip a bit and open the ground gently. Won’t be long and you’re digging large. Two-handed action finds the cool until mounds accumulate on each side of your hole. You see the worm, a glimmer of darkness that shines. Move quick and grab hold…say hello to your new pal, a creature that can’t live, not for a bit, without Mother Earth. A creature born to caress the ground with all its being. A creature born to recycle what’s been given and keep the whole ecosystem tidy. Resourceful little pal, and not proud. Not wasteful.
Grateful beyond every sense of the word for the Earth and her shelter.
Tell your kids about the worm’s virtues; let them dig it and find their own connections to Earth.
Want your kids to experience an intimacy with the Earth, which gives us all life? Open up the back door and let them at it:
> If you weed your lawn or garden, pull up a few weeds by their roots (please, no spray). Take a look at the root system. Is there one long taproot, a powerhouse for nutrients, or is there a splayed framework of equal reachers? Ask your child which method feels like it would work for them. Do they put all their energy into one place, or spread it out?
> Gather up seeds and pods and cones. Let your babies know how trees and plants send out their legacy and wait in patience for the best, trusting nature’s way to carry on and expand.
> Draw awareness to the way-up tree tops, the windy wind blowing those high branches at a different pace, the swirling reach of the tall guys reminds us that experiences are felt on different levels, and there is always a strong trunk unswayed by wind, and roots grounded deeper than one might expect. Kid’s love doing tree pose, grounding down and reaching up. Ask them for salutation to the mighty tree.
> Remind your kids that the turtle easing into the pond isn’t worried about the dive, isn’t stressed about finding food there. The turtle trusts that what lies under the water is just what he needs. No struggling with hope that the pond will get bigger next week, just easing into the pond as it is right now. Finding all it needs there. If the pond isn’t fruitful, he’ll find another, even on slow legs with a weighty burden.
Little folks learn from Earth, open to the lessons and bounty and love. Let daily thoughts get quiet as families find all they need to know through observation of the living gifts of the Earth.