I’m a fan of the television program Dual Survival. Cody Lundin is the hippie half of the survival team. Mountain, jungle, beach or cave, he goes barefoot. I have renewed my enthusiasm for going without shoes, partly due to working in an environment where closed-toe shoes are part of the dress code. My little rebellion against being a corporate drone is to kick off my shoes when I get home.
Cody manages to remain relatively injury-free in forbidding environments. I should be safe at home, right?
I forgot one aspect of Cody’s shoe-free lifestyle. He slows down. Taking deliberate steps, he negotiates rocky, thorny, or snake-inhabited terrain. His partner (formerly Dave, recently replaced by Joe), may grow frustrated at Cody’s slow pace, but going barefoot means taking your time.
Where did I go wrong? In my defense, I was wearing flip-flops. I know those aren’t shoes in most folks’ estimation, but they do provide protection against sharp objects poking your feet from below. Toes remain vulnerable. But that’s true whether you’re wearing 99 cent flip-flops or hundred dollar designer sandals.
So I was assisting my husband on our deck, hopping around in my usual manic style. Wham! I forgot about the pipe sticking up out of the deck, where a former homeowner connected their grill to natural gas. I heard the familiar crack of breaking toe-bone. I only uttered one curse word, followed by a string of “ow”s.
The swelling and bruising was immediate. This wasn’t my first broken-toe rodeo, so I opted out of a trip to the doctor. The last time I broke this same toe, I got lots of sympathy from the medical profession for the severity of the break, followed by “you know we can’t do anything for broken toes.”
So here I go again. I taped the broken toe to the next toe – the buddy toe. This goes on for 2 to 4 weeks, I learned on a medical website. Meanwhile, I am hobbling around, and digging all my half-size-or-more-too-big shoes out of the closet.
My husband’s comment when I broke my toe? “That’s what they make shoes for.” I am in denial. It wasn’t the lack of footwear that brought me to this pass. It was my inability to slow down. Which I now must do. For 2 to 4 weeks.
Join me next week when I start a discussion of my foray into the electronic world of book promotion.
The dung beetle spends its days rolling manure into neat little balls and storing them in its underground den. On the surface, this seems a noble activity. The ultimate repurposer, the beetles recycle poo into nourishment.
After the initial “yuk” reaction, you have to admire a creature that makes use of the lowliest of earthly substances.
Humans can be dung beetles, too. I enjoy the television show American Pickers. With equal parts horror and delight, we observe people who haven’t thrown out anything in decades. When a valuable treasure from the American past is unearthed in a storage shed, barn, or basement, this hoarding behavior is suddenly justified.
But some human hoarding can be turned to evil purposes. Am I being dramatic? Not when the balls of dung are lobbed at others with harmful intention.
The human dung beetle I abhor saves up hurtful bits of information about fellow humans. The remembered error from the distant past is saved for an opportune moment to shame the perpetrator. Like a dung beetle extracting a particularly juicy ball of poo from its den, the beetle-person announces, “I remember that time you-”
“I knew you when” can take on hurtful dimensions when the past was an ugly place. Change is not easy. Let the accomplishment stand.
Fiction provides endless examples of humans who change, from good to bad, or vice versa. A subplot in To Kill a Mockingbird involves an older neighbor who needs help from Scout Finch to end her morphine addiction. What happens after the novel closes? Mrs. Dubose doesn’t need her struggle dredged up every Sunday at church services by some old biddie with an agenda. “I remember when you used to be addicted to morphine. How nice you’ve changed.” Let’s hope her neighbors let her get on with her life.
In my novel Stone Cold Dead, a young man claims to have turned his back on his troubled past. Will the other characters believe him, or hold his past behavior against him, never trusting his change to be genuine?
What fictional changes have you enjoyed reading about? Can you imagine how that triumph could be diminished by a human dung beetle?
Four varieties of "green" beans from my garden
Gardening is arguably one of the most optimistic of human activities. In the dark days of winter, gardeners pour over seed catalogs and map their plots, ignoring the blizzard just outside.
You may say that we humans know the scientific basis for the seasons, and can intellectually reason the annual return of spring. Rationalization doesn’t stop the poet soul of the true gardener and farmer who glories in the miracle of the first green shoots poking out of the earth.
Mid-August the reality struck me that I hadn’t spent nearly enough time in my garden. With a heavy heart, I pulled the first planting of beans. They had stopped flowering. No more green beans from these plants. The spring gardening optimism has produced a bounty. I haven’t grown enough food to survive a year, as my very recent ancestors required, but enough to provide my summer vegetable needs.
There is time, in this climate, for one more round of lettuce. Summer is not over yet. And with creative season extending technology like cold frames and row covers, I could conceivably harvest tomatoes into October.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven,” Scripture says (specifically, Ecclesiastes 3, NKJ). “A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted.” If you’re fond of The Mamas and the Papas, you may add your own “turn, turn, turn” here.
Although it is September already, I notice lots of folks running around in shorts and flip flops, despite the cooler, darker mornings. People continue to race up the pass to spend weekends in the mountains camping and fishing. Families swarmed Red Rocks Park Sunday. There is still time to revel in summer before the aspen leaves turn gold and the snow starts to fly.
What are your plans for these last glorious days of summer?
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