Konza was the newsletter of Kansas Area Watershed Council. It was published four times a year to give news and opinions about KAW Council and news of the prairie. The following random excerpts from its long run.
Wallowing on the Prairie by Dan Bentley from Konza #19, Animals of Konza
One of the things I like best about KAW camps is that it’s the only time I take to wallow on the earth. Well, let be back up a second to explain.
At Winter camp, Jeff and I were out for a walk, wearing several layers of clothes. We were climbing a steep bluff when I got my first charleyhorse ever, a horrendous cramp in my gluteus maximus (butt). I got to the top of the bluff but had to lie down immediately and groan and writhe. Jeff instinctively grabbed ahold of both my legs and started dragging me–dodging rocks all the way. The effect was almost immediate–the cramp was gone–pulled out and I also got a relaxing massage from small clumps of grass and small rocks which made my spine pop. When I got up I felt five years younger. It felt so good that Jeff and I took turns dragging each other the next day. (If you try this form of prairie therapy, it’s best to wear several layers of clothing with insulated coveralls to protect you.)
It came home to me that night how much I enjoy wallowing. Wet with sweat in the sweat lodge, sitting in the dirt, eating on the dirt, swimming in muddy creeks, rivers and lakes, just sitting around conversing on the earth, talking to friends or listening–I saw in my mind’s eye the great plains totemic animals and thought of how much they loved and still love the dirt, standing and kicking it to raise dust and wallowing large depressions on the flat prairie which become mud holes in rain and places for dust baths in dry times. You can still see remains of these buffalo “wallows” among the grasses.
Wallowing, for me, has a double function. Watch a cat stretch and roll in the dust–it’s animal yoga and animal wallowing. Not only is it a de-fleaing, it’s direct healing contact with the earth we’re always talking about. It’s a treat for your spine, your whole body really. It’s a way to shed the Christian ethic of cleanliness next to godliness. So’s wholistic dirtiness! Maybe moreso. The healing earth calls. Why wait? Go out on the earth and wallow, my friends.