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Babushkas, Scarves, and the Moon Bench

mbackus's picture

I can hear every raindrop fall with astounding clarity. The sun manages to creep it's way under my heavy eyelids. It is cold and it is wet and I am tired. The stone bench and the weather have been conspiring against me. 

In Russia the babushkas used to yell at me for sitting on stone surfaces. They said it would make me infertile. They told me the cold from the stone would travel up my abdomen and make my uterus cold; the hard surface wouldn't help either. However, as soon as I sat on my jacket or my scarf it was completely fine, like my sheer scarf was enough to protect my fertility. I always thought this was the stupidest thing I had ever heard. How could an entire country believe something so absurd? In retrospect it makes sense. It is so hard to be a mom in Russia, women want to give themselves as good of a chance as possible, even if seems ridiculous to someone else.

But here I am, sitting on a cold, stone surface and thinking about the sweet, terrifying babushkas who were always looking out for me. I think next time I visit the moon bench I will bring a scarf in honor of the countless babushkas who took the greatest pleasure in scolding me. They would cringe at me now, but I think they will be very proud of me next week when I have a scarf to save my uterus. 

I find it funny that I have chosen a spot on campus to visit that I consider to be quite beautiful, but all I can think about is how uncomfortable I am on the cold, wet stone. I should pay more attention to how to rain catches the light and makes the leaves glissen, or how the squirrels are finally quiet. Do you think they collected enough nuts for winter? A large part of being in nature is noticing what is going on around you, but I think an equally important part is experiencing something that trigures a memory and cascades into a full blown epiphany. I wasn't fully present in the Bryn Mawr enviornment during my time at the moon bench today, but I found my memories of Russia more enlightening than previous experiences at the moon bench. It is a nice place to think, even if it isn't a very nice place to sit, and for that I am thankful.



Kimberly Stephens's picture

Being in nature is a great

Being in nature is a great mind opener. We are used to move around man-made environments, with squared corners and artificial spaces. This does something to our capacity to synch our minds with the universe, I believe. Some people would spend weeks, maybe months or years, without putting their bare feet in the ground. And even if they do, it will be in a chemically treated lawn.

What you say is true: get yourself in nature, let your mind go, have an epiphany. This is how it works. More people should remember this. I'm sure they knew this when they were kids, and then they forgot.