Connecting to the Earth and Spirit of the Old West

by | Nov 1, 2011 | Uncategorized

My Compost Heap

I have had a bit of Writer’s paralysis lately and kept hearing this inner voice to Write! Write! but not sure what to write about. That voice came up again and said “Use your horoscope as a prompt.” I read my horoscope by Holiday Mathis everyday. Most days I can find some way it relates to me. Often I will clip the horoscope and put it in my journal and then later write thoughts about the day, or just thoughts.

So I followed the prompt and here is what I composed. I shared it with my writing group yesterday. Enjoy!

Daily Horoscope Musings by Mary Claybon, a Taurus

Monday, October 31, 2011 My Horoscope Today by Holiday Mathis says,

“You have a connection to the land and the spirit of the Old West.”

Let’s see. I connect to the land in my garden, in my compost heap, and on my walks in Sharon Woods.  I love to feel the grass under my feet in the summer and the dirt trails of a forest preserve. When I think of the “the land” I think of soil, dirt, and the lives of plants that come out of it.

We have been composting for years now. We take any of our vegetarian scraps from fruits, vegetables, coffee grinds, etc. and put them in a rich pile of dirt, leaves, and peat moss. It’s like a recipe for dirt. You mix all of these earthly ingredients together and every day or every other day, depending on whether I am cooking or not, I add the scraps. Then with a pitchfork or narrow shovel, we turn and mix the compost.

Yesterday I made sautéed vegetables and a slaw salad to go with pizza. I also trimmed and cut up vegetables for tonight’s meal of stir-fry. I had a bucket of scraps. It felt so good to take it out to our backyard compost heap and mix it all up. There were hundreds of earthworms doing their job to help break it all down.

This process continues until you no longer recognize what used to be a piece of cabbage or an orange peel. You know it’s ready when it all falls through the tines of a pitchfork like fine soil. When it’s ready we put it on our garden beds like mulch or mix it into our other soil to nourish the plants that are bedded there.

As far as the spirit of the Old West-well, for me that brings to mind, Arizona. We have been there several times and have experienced the beauty of Sedona, a place known for its essence of spirituality and peace. But is that the Old West?

I noticed I have a lot to learn about the Old West. Where did that term come from and what does it mean? I decided to do what I always do when I am curious-Google it.

The first thing that came up was the Old West Festival that takes place right here near Cincinnati, Ohio. We just missed it.  It is a yearly event that takes place in October.

Well, guess what?  In the 18th century the Old West as defined by scholars was considered the areas of the Ohio and Tennessee Valley. Thus we were at one time living in the West, looking back now called the Old West. By the 19th century anything west of the Mississippi River was considered the West. With that definition we were no longer considered part of the west.

So what is my connection? I was born in the Midwest, now live in Ohio. We recently traveled to Louisiana, the southern state that ends the Western boundary.

Do I feel connected to the spirit and soil of the Old West? I feel connected to the spirit of everywhere, whether I have lived there or not. I experience the soil right here under my feet and the land I walk most frequently is my own back yard.

Yes I feel connected, and I learned something today. Everything changes definition as it ages. Vegetable scraps become soil and the West becomes old.



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