Ripples 6/6/24

By Sue Crowley, executive director

We have had quite a bit of rain so far this spring, especially the month of May and reaching into summer. Ponds and swales and fields are full or soggy. The tender greens of spring are transitioning to deeper greens of summer. Our temperatures feel like they are creeping up earlier than we are used to in the cool city by the lake.  Yet, for me, what is always the sign of summer is being able to shed my shoes and socks and let my feet experience both the cool and the warmth of the ground. 

I love not only to feel the soil, leaves, and grass, but also sometimes the cement, bricks or even pebbles.  In the first barefooting of summer, I gingerly and awkwardly make my way across a gravel path, my feet wondering why they are subjected to this treacherous texture, and yet by summer’s end they traverse the same ground without barely a notice of the rough surface.  Then, there is that amazing sense I feel when my feet get to walk on pine needles or a soft bed of cedar leaves that are blanketing the path through the woods. I am still so delighted to take in the drastic difference in “give” that this ground has.  As I have gotten older that “give” in the ground is much more appreciated farther up my legs in my knees! 

The other part of barefooting that I enjoy is the sand on our beaches, but then also the occasional hot trot across some paved surface. Or remembering the days of getting out of a chilly pool only to wrap a towel around and feel the warmth of the cement on the bottoms of my feet.

So, what does this all have to do with nature?  Well, this wonderful direct connection with natural earth has been found to help ground us, yes, pun intended. If we pay attention to opportunities to feel the earth on our bare feet, it truly does create a better sense of connection. It offers us a chance to appreciate all this beautiful planet has to offer- whether it be a cushioned walk on a bed of leaves, or some soggy soil, or the warmth of the sand soaking up the sun.  It turns out some folks are calling this “earthing or grounding”. People have done studies saying this connection of feet and bodies is just one of the simple things the earth can do for us to keep us connected and healthy. So, take your shoes and socks off and go earthing as often as you can!

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