Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Morning Constitutional (a tribute to the Pricker Bush John)

As a child, every summer morning began with a short walk through the pricker bush path to get to the john. I would walk gruffly past my mother, preparing her morning coffee (of her mid-morning coffee, depending), and head out the door without a word. I would see chipmunks and snakes, take in the fresh air, look around at the beautiful greenery - even if was only pricker bushes :) By the time I got to the john, my eyes would be wide open and I'd be ready to start my day. The return trip to the cabin would be more of a jaunt, bouncing playfully on the rocks which marked the path, sometimes even leaping up to the biggest one to get a better look at my surroundings before jumping off. I would say good morning to the earth.

This is same task all our ancestors had to perform. It is strange that it is only within the last few generations that humans have not had to walk outside for their morning constitutional. It is a time for reflexion, to commune with nature as you begin the day. And we are no longer participants in this task. It makes me wonder what kind of connection our and future generations can ever have with nature if they never have to greet her every morning.

Now it seems I have found that same schedule. Every morning, I grab some cantelope, a georgia peach, a bartlett pear or some other piece of fruit and head out the door. Even though it is after my "business," I still feel that I am being true to the earth and myself by heading out for that morning constitutional. When each morning begins with a walk through nature, even just 15 minutes, I find that I am more in commune with the cycle of life.

Many years ago, I read a book called, Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, in which Clarissa Pinkola Estes traces the historiography of fairy tales and nurserey rhymes for various cultures to demonstrate how the modern woman had lost touch with our earth mother and consequently our female souls. She wrote about how the Wild Woman, connected with the earth and nature, knowledgeable about herbs and potions, gradually became the target of misogynist thinking and developed into a crazy old crone. But these women moved with nature, with the rotation of the earth, noticing the minute changes all around them and were able to speak with nature as a good friend. They were women of the earth.

Thank you, Pricker Bush John, for introducing me to such a wonderfull old and storied tradition! While I am sad that you have fallen victim to modernization with your new flush toilets, I rejoice in the tradition of the morning constitutional. I am working toward becoming my own Wild Woman.

I am noticing. I am learning. I am becoming.

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum :)

Location:Little Long Pond, Harriman State Park, NY

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