Monday, August 24, 2009

I’m really starting to think I don’t want any electricity at all when I go off-grid. To totally do that I’d have to find a property with a spring or else a shallow well that would allow hand pumping. If that presents too much of an obstacle I can settle for a solar or wind-powered pump. But that should be the extent of my electric needs, unless I absolutely need a laptop.

And still this crazy idea to have a dirt floor is holding sway—and not one of these fancy, polished dirt floors that you see in multi-million dollar “green” homes—I’m talking about plain dirt. At least to start, then maybe filling in some or all of the floor with brick or stone as time goes by.

It seems like dirt would have many good qualities. If the house was too humid, wouldn’t it absorb some of the moisture?  And likewise, if the air was too dry, maybe it would exhale some moisture.  And it would probably help to regulate the temperature too, moderating between extremes. (And wouldn’t it be wild to grow your houseplants right in your floor?)

Of course there could be some potential drawbacks. I’m thinking a dirt floor would be best in a dry climate, otherwise mold might be an issue. Bugs could be a problem too. And of course dust getting tracked around.

But, ah, just imagine always having your bare feet in contact with the earth—something in me is screaming out that this kind of contact is vital for our well being. I don’t know why—I just feel that I need to have my feet on the dirt.

And the separation of indoors and out would be minimized—you’d always be connected to nature.

I wonder if building codes require floors? Or would I have to find a place where building codes weren’t in effect or weren’t enforced?

People would probably think I’d gone off the deep end if I had a dirt floor. But billions of people have lived and do live on bare dirt. I certainly wouldn’t be without company.

Of course there’s a stigma involved with dirt-floor living. But that’s okay. We’ve been so busy getting civilized and giving up our primitive and barbaric ways that I don’t think we recognize everything we’ve lost.

“Dirt-floor poor” people are connected to the earth. The dirt-floor poor are not the ones out there plundering the earth. Is it just because they’re poor and don’t have the resources to plunder, or is it maybe because they’re still connected to the land—Mother Earth?

I keep reading up on the topic of re-mineralization. It’s such a fascinating topic. Today I found a website that talked about re-mineralization in terms of raising healthy horses—what was necessary for the soil in order to grow healthy grasses in order to have healthy horses.

I never realized (then again I don’t know much about horses) that metabolic syndrome is a major problem for horses, just as it is for people. It seems that when soils are depleted in essential elements the starches and sugars that plants synthesize cannot be built into amino acids. The minerals provide the alchemy that allows amino acids to form. So, the animals who graze on depleted pastures get too much sugar, not enough minerals, and not enough amino acids or proteins.

The author at one point said something along the lines of—the metabolism of the grass and the metabolism of the horse are one and the same. That was a powerful statement for me to read. It feels like it has really far-reaching implications—not all of which I feel able to express just yet.

But part of it has to do with my thoughts about us being emanations of the land and globules of the land and expressions of the land. We’re so ridiculously interconnected with everything else it seems absurd to act as though we’re each independent entities.

There’s such a weird blending in my mind of the factual and the mystical when I think about these things. It’s so fascinating to me and as I’ve said before this is just a totally unexpected line of thinking for me. Wisdom wants to unfold--it’s not a line of inquiry I ever would’ve planned to pursue. It just wants to be known. 

That book I took out of the library last year—The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook--comes to mind. I was reading people’s reviews of it on Amazon once and while most people loved it there were quite a few people who were put off by the author’s “New-Age”, hokey, and fruity asides about plant energies or spirits or things like that. Those critics are clearly people who have not worked with herbs, because as fruity as it sounds, when you begin to work with herbs it’s obvious that these are entities, that they have specific personalities and powers. It’s not “out there” at all—it is what is!

So, when I think about such things as herbs, it’s this weird blending of these very practical matters—what essential elements does this specific herb tend to concentrate, which essential oils are present, what kind of soil does it prefer, what habitat?—and the odder, more mystical thoughts—what is expressing itself here, why does this blending of the earth and sky manifest as this, with these particular properties, what is being communicated here? Every living thing is a communication of sorts. The land communicates through living tissue.

Plants communicate with us through dreams, imagery, and intuition. I find it odd how casually people talk about the way animals instinctively know what to eat for health and healing and yet such a fuss is made when anyone suggests that our ancestors instinctively knew these things as well. Animals know, and people know (if they pay attention) because all living things communicate. Plant wisdom is available to us simply because plants exist, they emanate from the earth, and anything that emanates by default communicates. We don’t need scientists to isolate healing compounds in a plant before we go to that plant for healing. If we listen, the plant will tell us what it can do.

I came across something interesting yesterday too. I was reading about hops and came upon a picture of the female flowers—the part that’s most frequently used. Now I’ve seen hops growing before but had never noticed the flowers. They’re shaped like little nubby pinecones, about one to two inches long!  Just like the things in my dream in January. And then I read that hops can induce vivid dreams. Remember that in my dream the nubby things induced hallucinations in high doses. Vivid dreams—hmm, could I be getting warm yet?

I poked around a little more. Everywhere I looked when it mentioned hops in the context of vivid dreams it mentioned mugwort in the same breath. My impression is that mugwort is much more powerful at inducing vivid dreams than hops is. Still, extremely interesting.

And because of that dream last January, I’ve learned at least a little bit about three different plants: buriti, hops, and mugwort.

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