Ask the Earth
“-And what work are we going to do on the plain?
-We will plow and sow.
-And are these jobs that we should talk to them about? Who will we talk to?
– But, to whom else… In the Earth and in the seed, because you know they are living things, they hide unimaginable powers inside them. Just think how from such a small seed came that huge sycamore and that cypress. But for this work the seed must cooperate with the Earth. It needs her strength and she, like a mother, will conceive it.
-And with plowing the land?
-Plowing the land is very delicate work, it can very easily become rape, if you don’t ask her, if she doesn’t accept it herself… She can get hurt, my child. If you take the soil in your hand and spread it in your fist, you feel it, you see the cohesion that its grains have… They must be alive. Each grain is a whole universe!”
Κ. Foteinos ‘Odysseus Never Traveled’
With the change of seasons, nature introduces us to its corresponding face each time. After the summer “rest” the sun-kissed nature welcomes autumn with its first rains.
Seasons change and in our vegetable garden at the Nature School, children should learn to observe this change. Many of our vegetables have completed their life cycle, so we also decided to plant new ones. But how, through the process of planting, will a child connect with life and himself within it?
So let’s start from the seed, because look at it, see how small it is, and you know it looks a bit like you, because you too were a seed, someone took care of you, loved you, you grew and you continue to grow. You need water, vitamins, light, love, and that’s how you bear fruit, but no matter how similar you are, you are both living organisms. You grow taller and learn to stand firmly on your feet, so it also puts out its own legs, its roots.
And now, little seed, that we have met you, it is time to plant you, but first we will ask Mother Earth if she allows us. So we met a real Indian who shared his knowledge with us, advised us to learn to communicate with the Earth and listen to its needs.
Breathe, concentrate, close your eyes, place your palms on the ground and ask everything you want to know, make a wish and share the love with her. This is the way to start planting with respect and faith in the greatness of mother earth’s creation.”
Small palms in the soil, and we asked them to tell us if they hear something, yes, communication was born timidly: ‘madam, she let me plant the seeds’, ‘madam, she won’t let me, can I listen again?’ sowing started and completed.
But the cycle of life does not stop at a time or a condition, it just changes form and continues. With the arrival of spring, the vegetable garden also changes its form. Mother Earth is once again ready to conceive and give birth to new seeds. We perceived it, because this is what the experience taught us, gained by learning to listen and observe the earth.
Tradition expresses this cycle of life and the rebirth of nature with various customs, such as that of Perperuna. It is a pan-Hellenic and ancient custom, according to which they chose a little girl and dressed her in a white dress decorated with flowers and greenery… to make the place green like Perperuna. Then they would go back to the houses of the village and sing:
Perperuna, she walks and prays to God.
To rain a rain, a rain a gentle….
A tradition that was revived in a great celebration of unity, organized in our school with parents and children, where teachers became students. A circle symbolically spread around a flower bed, hands rested on the soil, everyone listened and called the earth to receive the new sowing.
The revival of the custom, the dance, the song were meant to give the essential meaning to the art of sowing, which is nothing but the miracle of life. Thus values were shared and the way was opened for them to understand the world they came into.
And this is how we learned to listen to the Earth, to ask her, to understand her needs and through her to reach man. The garden became our great teacher, it reminded us that we are all parts of a system, that everything within it interacts and contributes to evolution, change. It is very important for a child to perceive the world and his place in it, through the greatness of nature, to care for it and to try to perceive its images by placing himself in them. This will keep our world alive with values, and caring for everything that surrounds us.
The conversation with the Earth does not stop. So you wonder as a teacher, are they going to remember, should I be doing something else? We are in the schoolyard and I see three children running in panic, they reach under the mulberry tree and say to the children who were furiously shaking the branches to make the berries fall: ”How do you shake it like that, you would like it, did you ask it to get its fruits?” and see how they looked at them, they didn’t say a word and then the children say: ”Come let’s show you how we ask the Earth” ‘. Another day, we decide to go ‘to our forest’, to experience once more the ritual at its entrance. To sit in a large circle, to ‘fill’ it with breaths and calmly connect with it, listen to it and become a part of its world. I passed the group. I didn’t stop. Arriving at the entrance, I took the step to enter, so simply, you see, it was a way to test them. And then I hear a voice with one mouth: “Hey lady where are you going, you didn’t ask if he lets you in, we didn’t make a circle”, and then I said that now I know they understood!!!
So the need was so strong for us, so clear, that the people we are growing up, it is important to understand the concept of the framework, an open framework based on the creation of free people. Because a free person is the one who every day he wakes up feels grateful that everything was like yesterday and respectfully walks into today. He contributes to this, as the sense of responsibility towards life is greater than him.
It belongs to a system it interacts with. How will a child understand this? How will he feel that he is equal to everything around him? That he is responsible to take care of what he found or rather leave it better for the next ones who will come to live in it. How will he learn that everything around him has value, and we are not referring to that of cost-benefit, but to the value of energy, the value of movement, of being where man meets nature, learns from it, from its rules.
And so, nature and man together create two vertical axes, which unite at one point. It is that point of beginning and end, around which you learn to revolve. You know how far you get away from it, but the further you get away from your core, the greater the distance from your core, and then you will find it difficult to understand the third axis that has always existed within you but you could not distinguish it, it is the axis of Profound Education.
So now you have three axes that make up a complete system, in this the coordinates define a point, it is your choice how many points you will pass and now it will be the radius of the circle that you will delete, because don’t forget that we are talking about a life cycle that is repeated.
If within this cycle you choose to live with fear, doubt, malice in the sense of individualism, because it takes you out of your natural flow, then all you will achieve is to constantly increase the change of time and thus decrease the your power Everything around you is alive and you are a part of it all, do you still doubt that you can find a way to communicate with them?
Dimitra Stergiou: Forester-Educator at the School of Nature