Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rooted to the Air



We are rooted to the air through our lungs and to the soil through our stomachs. We are walking trees and floating plants. The soil which in one form we spurn with our feet, and in another take into our mouths and into our blood — what a composite product it is! It is the grist out of which our bread of life is made, the grist which the mills of the gods, the slow patient gods of Erosion, have been so long grinding — grinding probably more millions of years than we have any idea of….


This story of the soil appeals to the imagination.
To have a bit of earth to plant, to hoe, to delve in, is a rare privilege. If one stops to consider, one cannot turn it with his spade without emotion. We look back with the mind's eye through the vista of geologic time and we see islands and continents of barren, jagged rocks, not a grain of soil anywhere. We look again and behold a world of rounded hills and fertile valleys and plains, depth of soil where before were frowning rocks. The hand of time, with its potent fingers of heat, frost, cloud, and air has passed slowly over the scene, and the miracle is done.



-John Burroughs, The Grist of the Gods





What we lose in our great human exodus from the land is a rooted sense, as deep and intangible as religious faith, of why we need to hold on to the wild and beautiful places that once surrounded us…. Protecting the land that once provided us with our genesis may turn out to be the only real story there is for us…. Storytelling is as old as our need to remember where the water is, where the best food grows, where we find our courage for the hunt.


-Barbara Kingsolver, Knowing Our Place


2 comments:

Western North Carolina Writer's Underground said...

There's something about waterfalls that makes people fantasize about naughty Polonesian liasons. Unfortunately ours in WNC are just too darn cold for that sort of activity--especially in winter time!

Went to 1158,1.2 the other day. But it was too late in the afternoon to get very far down the old road to the big one. Have to try another day.

GULAHIYI said...

I suspect that once-spectacular falls will be regaining some of its majesty this week if these rains continue I suspect there's a shorter, but more difficult, way to reach it from upstream, but getting down to the base of the falls might be a challenge.