Our shoes pin us to the world, like Peter Pan to his shadow. More than simply facilitating our movement out-of-doors, they mediate between the wearer and the ground. Perhaps it is less the world they pin us to, but our place in it; that shadow of society that follows wherever we go.
The ground was so far below him, he could barely make it out through the grey mists that whirled around him, but he could feel how fast he was falling, and he knew what was waiting for him down there. Even in dreams, you could not fall forever. He would wake up in the instant before he hit the ground, he knew. You always woke in the instant before you hit the ground.
The first man, who, after enclosing a piece of ground, took it into his head to say, “This is mine,” and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. How many crimes, how many wars, how many murders, how many misfortunes and horrors, would that man have saved the human species, who pulling up the stakes or filling up the ditches should have cried to his fellows: Be sure not to listen to this imposter; you are lost, if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong equally to us all, and the earth itself to nobody!
The planets of our solar system have grand names drawn from Greek and Roman mythology. Even their moons have appellations from Shakespeare or other literary or mythological sources, yet the name of our planet is derived from the word for ground or soil. Our ancestors knew the earth beneath their feet long before they realized that the Earth was suspended in space, and this is reflected in our languages. This article from Dennis Mammana is an interesting read on the subject.
Would we respect the Earth more if she had a “proper name” or is the name of Earth far more precious than that of ancient gods? If you have a name for Earth in a language near and dear to you, please share it in the comments section and be sure to let us know the name of the language as well.
Happy Earth Day and thanks, as always, for reading!