Keep me grounded right herePublished 4:38pm Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Spring has sprung and summer is about to pounce on everyone. Excitement fills the ever increasing warm air as people look forward to the festivities, places, and smells of the summer ahead of us. Ah, yes, the smells. My personal favorite happens to be manure.
The smell of manure is one of those indescribable odors. Its scent is mostly associated with summer for me. A smell you love or hate, or you’ve never thought about the smell of animal excretions. Either way, it is a smell that grounds you, and leaves a mark on the ol’ nose hairs at the same time.
I believe it reconnects something in each one of us back to the earth. Back to what’s real, getting dirty, to hard work and reaping the benefit of all your toil.
I’ve been thinking lately, maybe the farmer’s market needs some farm animals there for that very reason. The market is a good Saturday morning routine, which several people really enjoy. You get outside in the fresh air after a long week of work and responsibility. People who have worked the soil, the chicken flock, the goat udder, the bee hive, or the piece of wood turned into artwork love showing off their handiwork to consumers. For some, it’s a hobby, for others, a bit of a way of life. Let’s all go and support them, shall we?
All we need is some farm animals with their farm animal smell! Bring on the hoofs, the horns, the big beady eyes and the smell of manure penetrating the warm summer breeze. Bring hand sanitizer and animal treats while you’re at it.
Come on – McDonald’s does it. It’s called a marketing technique. The smell of burgers and fries is purposefully flown into the air to conjure up an appetite in would-be connoisseurs of fast food.
It works, too, might I add. I’m sure there’s not a person alive who hasn’t stopped in their tracks to go purchase some food at the very smell that lingers before their nose.
The unique smell of manure, hay and some freshly brewed coffee being sold at the market, wafting through the air, might just be the trick to gain some attraction. It’s more grounding than the fluorescent lights of a store that sells food from the other side of the globe. You don’t know who grew it, how long it’s been there or how it’s been zapped to maintain its color and freshness.
Give me food that still has dirt on it. Food that smells like the earth and was birthed out of the earth for our benefit – sometimes the very morning you buy it. Give me grassroots people from a grassroots county, grassroots food, and grassroots manure from grassroots animals.
And throw in some kids running around while you’re at it.
Give me grassroots kids who play with bugs and dirt, love animals, ride horses and kids who enjoy getting dirty for their play time. Kids who are outside playing sports, digging in the creek, frying ants with a magnifying glass or running after each other for no reason other than a sugar buzz.
Give me some youngsters who are learning to play music, like the piano or the saxophone or guitar. Just as my son (who’s putting on his first recital this week) uses his creativity on an instrument to ground himself. Give me kids who enjoy the simplicity of the piano being played for the enjoyment of its listeners; kids who stand there at the market playing music to raise money for music trips. We may have a great composer in our midst and not even know it yet.
All of that came from manure. Yeah, manure really sets me at ease. It signals summertime, farmers markets, fairs, music, festivals and hopefully slowing down just a bit to take it all in while we can. There’s nothing like homegrown food and creations from some grassroots people and artisans. And it just so happens to be here in our neck of the woods – good ol’ Polk County.
All except for the manure at the farmers market. A man can dream a little, can’t he?
Chris Jakubowicz lives in Columbus with his wife and children. His bi-weekly column will focus on how he and his family are trying to get back to their grassroots. Jakubowicz can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.