In praise of living so close to the earth you can always touch it with your foot
By L. Bailey Jean
Last April, I rid myself of a car to start land longboarding, and to attempt to build my artisan business within what I call a "naturo-physical" state. A response to the manufactured lifestyle I know as mainstream society, the naturo-physical state is my attempt to direct and better control the relationship among raw physical ability, biodynamic food, clean water, immediate environment, personal work and interests, successes and progress, and social interactions.
The notion is that I can design a livelihood within a manual radius, essentially meaning on foot, and can maintain prosperity without the abundance of external materials and mechanized behavior that defines a "typical" American life. I believe that if individuals molded their lives in accordance to a naturo-physical state, then we would see a shift en masse away from the inertia of lives spent merely producing goods, not-so-goods and everything in between. Land longboarding grants me the kind of mobility, albeit a rustic kind, that resonates with much of my internal direction.
By moving and working, mostly on foot, my body grows fit, and this fitness helps increase my vitality. I can then work harder or go farther on the board, and so can reach more people. At some point during the day, certainly, my physical capability will be tapped, but this merely provides an opportunity for another to continue the project; the lifestyle, then, is inherently cooperative. Such a system, I believe, could encourage more people to supply the materials a society requires, spreading activity and engaging the community.
In the larger society of our country, I envision many smaller circles promoting a kind of life keyed to the specific and natural ebb and flow of an area's biology and harvest rhythms. The naturo-physical state encourages a lifestyle that partakes of organic gardens, clean water and air, agile movement, good sleep and balancing perceived needs with what is available on foot.
On the longboard, more time is needed to get around, but the journeys are undertaken with intention, for I cannot carry much. In this mode, fewer things seem important, but what is important receives more attention. It's true there are times when having a car would be nicer, but difficulties traveling on the board and going by foot merely elicit thoughts about what drives lifestyle, community and city development.
I am almost at a point where my business is demanding increased vehicular mobility, which could possibly create a dilemma over the basic principles of living in a naturo-physical state. But with resourceful thinking, or people in the community willing to horse-and-buggy around an over-idealist, I may be able to keep a business flowing and growing on foot.
Longboarding everyday certainly takes effort, but now I sort of need it. I like improving my balance and foot-touch, and I like the daily physical exertion. As with anything requiring practice, the more hours spent utilizing fine motor skills, the better these skills become. And, too, my physical movement and prowess increase just by living life, for even if it is raining and I have to be somewhere, I can always run.
As my body grows stronger, I am driven to keep it strong and it is easier to maintain. Of course I need to earn a living and pay bills, yet staying physically fit is the thing I care about most, no matter what I do.
L. Bailey Jean is the owner of Espresso Bloc, hand-ground artisanal coffees. She's online at www.espressobloc.com. Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 700 words considered for publication, write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send a letter to the editor about this story.