Stories of earthing, grounding to the earth, barefoot or hands in the soil.
Writers responded to the prompt, and what follows is a collection of perspectives in 99-word stories arranged like literary anthropology.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
A Pause in the Rush to Keep Up by Dave Williams
News said it was popular and she thought Why not? so she went to a creek trail and normally she would’ve felt happy inside the weekend crowd but not now so she went Monday (work was slow) and the walk was quieter, a pause from pre-Covid trend-flitting: coffee shops wine bars brunch cafes fusion restaurants new movies.
Seeing someone else do it inspired her to sit on a stone amid the creek, eyes closed. Listen. Water birds wind.
Her own idea: remove shoes and socks, barefoot in the creek. Feel. Chilly water smooth pebbles. Life underneath trends.
Would I Not Do Some Great Thing? by Chel Owens
New-spring mud gripped his ankles, bringing Naaman’s mind to thoughts of bondage rather than freedom. What sort of healing could he find here, at the lowest bank of the river? What sort of fool did that holy man think him to be?
A gesture distracted his thoughts. His wife’s maid dropped her gaze at his stare. Remaining bowed, she once again lifted a hand toward his feet. Her head tilted.
“Would I not do some great thing?” he hissed to himself. Drawing deep within the soul he’d long forgotten resided in his sickly shell, Naaman willed himself to believe.
A Spring Remembrance by Mr. Ohh!
Ah Spring and for the first I can remove these heavy shoes and woolen socks.
As I walk through the grass I come across a small patch of mud. Oh, how good it feels between my toes. It is as if a sacred bond is forming between the Earth and my soul. I must have more. I roll up my pants and kneel in the muck thrusting my hands and fingers into the wet slimy earth. The joys of childhood com bounding back. I am young again.
Later police remove my filthy, naked body. I went too far again.
Earth’ling by Rebecca Glaessner
Readings returned slightly less than optimal levels, but their shuttle-mind assured them of safety.
The first creature stumbled out, overwhelmed by colours. The browns and blues and golden yellows were not where they should be.
And it hadn’t ever seen so much green.
Their journey from the dying world began generations ago, long before their own time – what was left of them.
This world was here, now. All around. Spreading, reaching further into the distance than the ship-born ever thought possible.
The creature crouched, removing protection from an appendage, and touched the Earth.
All at once… it felt home.
Coming Home by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She’d sailed by the stars, rounding islands of moons to arrive home. Joanna leaned into the helm, her final tack bringing her ship into bayside.
Virtually all Earth’s inhabitants left to settle on these moons. First they went to escape overpopulation, then they stayed for the controlled climates. Joanna’d been an interplanetary bus driver since her raven-haired days. Now she was craggy and white as the mountainous docking station.
She ached with the blessing of witnessing of the Mother’s recovery. Her ears rang with the silence found only in pure nature.
Next time, she’d stage a crash and stay.
Simple Pleasures by Ellen Best
It’s time, to stop and stare as yellow paints the fields. Nature’s beauty shines. Drink in the hypnotic sway let it warm your soul. Remember that elegance has a sharp edge, for all its grace and beauty it is not to be walked among.
Rape is full of allergens, it will ulcerate skin, if you forget the country code … and walk through the farmers crops. like a fisherman’s lure, a fly dangled before you dancing on ripples. You can be grounded by its colour, mezmerized by the sway, let the earth paint your soul. Breathe and enjoy, the simple pleasures.
Earth To Great-Uncle Parfitt by Geoff Le Pard
‘You look chipper, Morgan.’
‘I’ve got my allotment at last.’
‘I thought you’d been banned.’
‘That was a misunderstanding. His cardigan was a known fire risk.’
‘I’ve never understood the attraction.’
‘Oh it’ll be grand. Hands in the soil, reconnecting with nature…’
‘That’s exactly it. The soil. Goodness knows where it’s been.’
‘It’s great for mental and physical well-being. It’s called Earthing.’
‘We can agree that earthing is essential.’
‘Anyone who witnessed Great-Uncle Parfitt flying across the kitchen when he tried to fix his electric egg cosy would attest to the benefits of sound earthing.’
Earthing Not by Joelle LeGendre
No thanks, Earth, I’m not going to celebrate the corporeal world. You twirl around the sun, showing off your white chiffon clouds and blue skies, while inside our giant terrarium you laugh at our inability to understand one truth: Creatures must eat to live.
The last time I ran barefoot through the grass, stinging nettle attacked my feet. I’ve been attacked by ringworm, ticks, fire ants, and yellow flies. One time, walking along a moon-lit beach, I was eaten alive by sand fleas.
My “Earthing” is seven blankets on a concrete floor. Still, your vibrations lull me into sleep.
Paranoia by Reena Saxena
A non-believer in the metaphysical realm, he is compelled by his daughter to take the meditation course.
She finds him derisive at day-end,
“The teacher asked me to imagine myself digging deep in the soil, plug underground and get charged. Will she make me fly to compensate in the next session?”
“Dad, just keep doing what she says. You’ll sleep better today.”
His expression turned grim.
“Dreams tend to unearth imagination, and put me back in uncomfortable spots.”
There is seemingly no cure for paranoia of hypochondriacs, and the family does not have too many options either.
The Green Feet Club by Colleen M. Chesebro
Elsa reached the end of a miserable day. There had been so much death lately. She didn’t know how she would go on.
She stepped down the path toward the park, a new addition at the hospital. Verdant grass beckoned; she could smell it. At the first bench, she removed her shoes and socks. With her feet planted in the grass, she felt the Earth’s energy soothe her jangled nerves.
“I see you like earthing,” said Jake from the E.R.
“I do. It’s the only way I can recover.”
Jake smiled. “Me, too. Welcome to the green feet club.”
Francine (from “Diamante”) by Saifun Hassam
On a glorious spring morning, Francine and the children planted mint and jasmine around the ancient temple.
Then off they ran down to the seashore. The tide was out.
Kicking off their sandals, forming a circle, they danced and sang on the wet sand.
Francine’s beautiful alto voice rang out, in prayer and praise for the sea’s gifts.
The children sang, spinning madly around each other, and again in a circle.
As her feet stamped the sands, Francine felt joy and gratitude fill her entire being.
Picnic baskets opened up. Savory rice cakes. Golden baked raisin and sesame bars.
Roots by Sue Spitulnik
The hot day had Tessa itching to return to the park of her youth. She drove the streets admiring the colorful flowers in bloom, realizing the town had grown while she was away. She parked in the same space she used years ago, wondering if the forest trail that beckoned was still in use. Finding it even wider than she remembered, she took off her shoes in order to feel the warm packed earth underfoot. While walking, she imagined the day her granddaughter would be big enough to step over the same roots and share the experience with her.
New Life by Joanne Fisher
Cindy went outside in the morning. She walked onto the newly sown fields to feel her bare feet in the warming earth. Last winter had been harsh and she was glad spring had come, the deep snow had given way to green fields. Living on a farm meant you seemed more close to the seasons.
Yesterday Cindy had found the IVF treatment had been successful. She was pregnant, but had yet to tell her wife Jess. Tonight she was going to surprise her with the good news. Cindy looked over their new rows of corn. New life was growing.
Earthing on a Working Ranch by Charli Mills
Jerilyn’s house smelled like a barn. The danger of spring calving is weather that plummets into freezing blizzards after the bulbs rise. The night seven cows dropped calves she provided shelter in her newly remodeled kitchen. So much for pristine linoleum. Today, calves and mamas would reunite. Sam saddled their horses while Jeri mopped and dried breakfast dishes. Glancing at her Zen calendar, she realized it was Earth Day. A quote encouraged her to seek earthing, connect with the ground. She wondered if a mouthful of fresh clods counted? She didn’t relish getting thrown from that flighty mare again.
Reconnected to Serenity by Nicole Horlings
The bus wasn’t running that day, so she took the forest path home from work instead.
Upon hearing the sound of water cascading over rocks, she decided to take the time to visit her favourite spot. Eyeing the shallow pool of water at the base of the waterfall, she pulled off her socks and shoes, and padded barefoot down the dirt slope. The sensation of the cool earth was a welcome wake up from the dreariness of ordinary life, and the cool water felt like effervescent sparkles.
She sighed and smiled. This was exactly where she needed to be.
Nestled by Lisa Shea
Caroline wasn’t much of a gardener, but this year would be different. Mark had built her a raised bed, a full ten feet square, filled with rich, dark loam.
She stood over it in the warm near-summer sunshine, breathing in its aroma. Who knew soil could smell so wonderful?
On impulse, she slipped off her sandals and stepped barefoot into the soft dirt, scrunching her toes. A gentle breeze tickled her.
She knelt down, astonished at the dirt’s cushioning support. She took up thick handfuls.
She splayed out in blissful abandon, completely content.
The Young Gardener by Ruchira Khanna
“Aargh, my hands are dirty,” cried a five-year-old Pedro as he raises them in the air and flaps them irritatingly.
“That’s alright,” came the mom to his rescue as she dusted them off and kissed those fingertips, “Look at the plant you just put in the soil.”
Little Pedro saw the marigold and went his way.
A week went by; the tiny plant had two new buds.
Pedro was noticing it all this while.
Then one fine day, mom saw him bend over and kiss the flower.
“The flower is so happy,” he said as he clapped his hands.
By Idiot by Simon Prathap D
Stop shoving your hands inside mud, it’s not hygienic.
He jumped inside mud and rolled over, This is an earth that feeds me, you and our species, when I die, earth eats me. That is how this life cycle works, we came from nothing, disappear into nothing.
All these hygiene, beauty came in the middle by greedy business minded idiots. We are part of nature, the day we started to move away from nature we became more vulnerable to deadly disease.
He scowled ‘Idiots’
There will be a day, nature will be against you, mark my words, by Idiot.
A Letter from Mother Nature by Willow Willers
I tried to warn you, painted warnings on walls and billboards with letters 20ft tall screamed, shouted and made a fuss.No one listens at all. The blooms are out in winter and summer flowers peek in spring. Snow falls in summer and sometimes in spring. You’re heading for another drought your reservoirs almost dry yet you let precious water waste. It’s starting with the smaller things but soon you will suffer too. This green planet that you call home is dying. I’m so tired and you just ignore my warning.
From a dying Mother nature.
How To Save The Earth by Hugh W. Roberts
They thought they had gotten away with first-degree murder, but the victims had other ideas.
It’s an attack I’ll never forget.
Why us? Why did they have to come here and try and destroy the safe community we live in? We weren’t hurting anyone. All we wanted was to help them. Don’t they know what they’re doing when attacking the innocent? It’s first-degree murder.
“Earthing,” announced Father Brier. “Earthing is the answer. The next time they come back, we must send them back from where they once came.”
Now the soil is full of human remains. Instead of attacking us, they feed us and help us plant life survive. Earthing is saving the Earth.
Small Steps to Earthing by Anita Dawes
I do not like gardening
Putting my hands in dirt horrifies me
I watch Jaye potting her bonsai
Sometimes with dirt up to her wrist
I wonder why the fascination when she is gardening
I am aware of the creepy crawlies
Which if they run across my hands
Would have me running to the nearest tap to wash.
I keep trying. I walk barefoot across the lawn
Aware there are ants and other things hiding
My daughter has ground bees.
Yesterday I managed to plant some sunflower seeds.
Now I need to graduate to the garden and real dirt…
For Earth Day by Norah Colvin
“They’re very quiet,” said Dad.
“For a change,” said Mum.
“Suspiciously quiet,” said Dad. Mum didn’t stir — no way she’d abandon her match-3 game mid-level to investigate.
“Hmpf,” said Dad, marking his page. He slid into his slippers and shuffled to the door.
“What’re you doin’?” he yelled.
Two small mud-spattered bodies frolicking under the sprinkler in his freshly-prepared garden bed froze.
“Nuthin’,” said one.
The other gaped.
“Sure don’t look like nuthin’,” said Dad. “Git yerselfs outta there.”
He killed the sprinkler and fun in one.
“We thought you made it for us—”
“—for Earth Day.”
Dirty Hands by Heather Gonzalez
Charlie washed the dirt off of his hands in the kitchen sink. It felt good to be one with the Earth for a moment. He didn’t think that he would have enjoyed what he did so much. It all happened quickly, but once he had his hands in the dirt, it all felt right.
After his hands were clean, he began to chop up the vegetables from his garden for a salad. There was nothing better than home grown food with natural fertilizer. Too bad his wife Madeline was now under the garden and couldn’t enjoy it with him.
The Good Earth by Anne Goodwin
Heather would’ve welcomed more support from her colleagues for her latest occupational therapy project. Instead, they queried the purpose of creating a herb garden in a hospital about to close. All she could say was that gardening had been a lifeline to her when depression struck.
When the manager arrived, Matty had her fingers in the soil beneath the lavender bush. “What are you up to?” he asked.
“I’m looking for my mother.”
Clive rolled his eyes. Her grave was in the cemetery, miles from here. “Do you think you’ll find her?”
“I already have,” said Matty. “Mother Earth!”
Earthing Earthling by JulesPaige
In the dawn she spotted the mourning doves ‘coo pon’ capons?
T’was a white gown (a nightie really) but down to her bare toes
She danced, running to scare then no straight seams planned; go, shoo
These fine avians were her friends she’d fed them stale bread crumbs
If Grampa caught them there would be squab for lunch, that could not happen
A zig, a zag there until she fell and rolled in morn’ dew
off they few across
the creek, fields and into the
various spring trees
safe for perhaps one more day
dinner would be nut-spread and jam!
Price Paid in Full by Frank James
Tyrone toiled away in the prison field, giving him a sense of freedom. Harvesting food empowered him. He reminisced about childhood where he farmed with family. He helped feed the town, but not anymore. By circumstance, he now felt incomplete.
“Work hard men. This is a good price to pay,” a guard yelled.
“Pay who?” Tyrone mumbled, gathering corn.
Finishing the harvest, a bus pulled up. The door opened, and a stream of volunteers collected the crates full of food. One smiled and said to Tyrone, “You are feeding so many people during this pandemic. Thank you.”
His chest ballooned.
A Golden Day by Kate Spencer
Let us put away our cares, just for a day. For a golden moment we’ll forget our tasks and our worries. We’ll visit the meadow by the stream and pick honeyed blossoms for our hair. O’er the hills we’ll stroll, wildwood whispers drawing us close. A speckled fawn, a rose-white apple tree, both nestled among the firs. We linger until the evening mist guides us back home, wholesome and happy, having spent the day with earth’s energy.
Margot re-read the words she’d written and stared longingly out the window, listening to the rain drops conversing with her window pane.
The Gardener by D. Avery
In the moonlight she breathed deeply of the sweet loamy air. She knelt. The rich earth never failed to soothe her. Her garden was her oasis.
She straightened the ceramic sign, ‘Bloom where you’re planted’.
“Have to grow to bloom,” she thought. “Takes the right soil and light.”
Her garden was her oasis and her marriage a desert, with extremes of heat and cold, and violent unpredictable storms.
She squeezed a handful of soil. For him, a note on the counter. For her garden, a whispered goodbye in the moonlight.
She rose up, brushed herself off, and moved on.
Earthing by Robert Kirkendall
Rory tore down the hillside on his mountain bike, then hit a rut and pitched forward over the handlebars. He flew forward and headed into the ground.
His hands and face scraped against the dry top dirt, then he flipped, hit the ground, bounced forward, and barrel rolled over the abrasive terrain.
He finally came to a stop on a patch of soft, moist ground underneath the shade of an oak tree. He dug his hands into the cool, crumbling dirt and felt the replenishing and healing energy of the earth.
This really feels good, Rory thought to himself.
A Conversation Between Mervyn Martian and Edgar Earthling by Doug Jacquier
Mervyn: Edgar, what are you doing?
Edgar: I’m writing a novel.
M: What is a novel?
E: It’s a long story that contains characters the writer has invented.
M: So these ‘characters’ are not real?
M: What will this ‘long story’ be about?
E: About a man who loves digging the earth in his garden and planting vegetables and flowers to feed and please his friends and family.
M: Just like you.
E: And he also has conversations with a Martian.
M: But these are not lies, they are facts.
E: Only if I say so, Mervyn.
Gittin’ Down Ta Earth Part I by D. Avery
“Kid, whut’re ya doin’?!”
“Boss’ orders, Pal. Anyways, last week you was all about me takin’ a bath.”
“Thet ain’t a bath! Yer wallowin’ in the mud! With yer puglet!”
“A mud bath. I learn from the best. Curly’s a natural at it. Earthin’. Try it, Pal, it’s good fer ya. Might even make ya less ornery.”
“I’ll show ya ornery ya grimy greenhorn! Oh! No! Whoaaaa!”
“An’ here ya are, Pal. Don’t that mud feel good?”
“No! I cain’t stand it. Cain’t stand up neither.”
“Grab holda Curly’s tail. She’ll pull ya through.”
“Shorty’ll pull through too.”
Gittin’ Down Ta Earth Part II by D. Avery
“Pal! Did ya see that? Whut’s Shorty up to?”
“What’sa matter, Kid? Ya know Shorty likes ta git out in the garden, play in the dirt.”
“Play in the dirt, sure. But look’t ‘er! She’s layin’ in it! Mebbe we best check on ‘er, make sure she’s all right.”
“Oh, Shorty’s all right, all right. She’s earthin’, Kid. Reckon thet’s how she stays grounded.”
“Pal, how come yer okay with Shorty’s earthin’ but ya got all mad at me an’ Curly when we was earthin’.
“What you was doin’ was wallowin’, Kid. An’ asides, thet weren’t mud.