Blog postings on Scott Russell Sanders’ “Earth’s Body” and “Telling the Holy”


27 thoughts on “Blog postings on Scott Russell Sanders’ “Earth’s Body” and “Telling the Holy”

  1. Hannah Hildahl
    “Earth’s Body”
    I found this essay to be very interesting to say the least. The author, Scott Russell Sanders, brings up many points about the earth that I would never think of. I agree with his thought of making the earth your home and having a positive relationship with earth itself. I liked the point he made about the earth stating “even when you can’t see the earth, he trusts the earth will hold him up.” This point made me think about how dependent we are on earth and the amount of trust we put in the earth to keep us safe. After reading the article I do believe a person can have a relationship with earth, the author said how “we explore, honor, and abuse them alike.” This quote personifies the earth making it seems like a person in everyday life. Though I do agree a person can have a relationship with the earth, I did not agree with the deepness of a relationship the author had with the earth. Sanders remarked that the earth was his “invisible lover” and can act as a “spouse.” He refers to the earth in sexual terms and compares it to the attractions that make you want to get in bed with another person. I do not believe that a relationship with the earth can justify a relationship with a person. I thought his idea of his relationship with the earth seemed to seriously and almost creepy. Though I do not agree with all Sanders points in the essay, I thought the essay really forced the audience to think about the earth on a deeper level and describe the importance of a positive relationship with the earth.

    Telling the Holy
    I thought the story regarding Jermiah Loft was very interesting however it did not seem relevant to the main point Sanders was trying to make in the essay. The preacher Loft spoke about how the end of the world was approaching because people had been wicked in there use of earth and god wanted to start over with new creatures. I thought this was an interesting concept with made me think about how humans do abuse the earth; however, I did not think it was relevant to the final point Sanders made about telling stories of the land. I liked the quote, “unsung land is a dead land; since if the songs are forgotten, the land itself will die.” In my opinion the author is persuading the audience give the earth a voice and fight for its rights otherwise it will be taken advantage of.


    • 5 points. I think Sanders is doing a couple of things with the Lofts story–first, he’s showing how Lofts himself was telling a story about our relationship with the earth and God, showing how in fact stories are always an important part of our relationship with earth. Then Sanders himself telling the story of Loft is another story! But I think Sanders is also trying to show how Lofts’s story was misguided and didn’t really show an accurate understanding of the human relationship with the earth (after all, Lofts was wrong!).


  2. ‘Earths Body” was very intriguing. Author Scott Sanders details his connection to the earth and how we are all connected to the earth in a way very few of us realize. His image of the world is that we are all children in Earth’s stroller. We could not survive without earth. Sadly, Sanders spent too much time writing this book, this is proven by his description of earth as his spouse, I suggest he make a visit to Nonetheless this was a great passage that many of us could relate to.

    The Loft passage was frankly worrisome. It obviously only applies to those who believe in God. Atheists would probably think this is either funny or offensive. It paints a different image than ‘Earths Body’ because it show the earth and nature as a vengeful force to be reckoned with whereas ‘earths body’ shows earth as a kind and nurturing nest.


  3. Elaina Peterson
    I found Scott Russell Sanders’ “Earth’s Body” to be quite interesting and intriguing. He connected nature to his memories. While waiting for the sun to rise, Sanders recalls a poem that was on his childhood bedroom. While hugging a maple tree, he recalls hugging his grandmother and lessons from his biology teacher. As Sanders thinks of the earth as sexy, he recalls the time when he undressed his self and pet a fawn. Through these connections and recollections, I realized that nature is a small part of us. Sanders writes that “body and land are one flesh. They are made of the same stuff.” Now while I do not agree with everything he writes about the earth and our bodies, I can see how we relate to nature. For example, when I went to the beaches in Georgia, I always thought about when my family and I lived in Hawaii. When I see a river, I instantly recall memories of being on the Rhine River in Germany. With all this in mind I believe that nature does play a part in our lives and without it we would miss out on making memories and could be bound to forget the ones we have already made.


  4. Sanders claims on chapter three that he’s in a pit, and by that I tried to guess if he’s depressed or something. When he goes deeper and talk about Robert Browning’s poem – ending “God’s in his heaven, all is right with the world” – of which used to comfort him, he continued saying that, seeing the atrocities we do to our world and to each other, “God moved from heaven not leaving a forwarding address” and since then he’s trying to find where divinity resides. What I believe I got from this was that he tries to have a deep, profound and sincere relationship with nature because it is pure, healthy, beautiful and blessed, closer to the idea of a God who stopped looking upon us from heaven, or simply stopped existing for him?. And what he gets from this relationship he could not get from anyone, anything or anywhere else besides nature.
    On his essay, Sanders made a comment stating that “There is no division between where we live and what we are”. I would like professor Dean to talk about it in class, if possible, since at first I thought I knew what Sanders was talking about, but I actually don’t.

    Because we were assigned to read only two chapters, I do not have a concrete idea of what this book is all about, but despite being confusing sometimes, it seems like a really good one.


  5. Channon Greer

    Sanders begins Earth’s Body talking about fear. The warm August months in Bloomington and the life around him are things some may fear. When I read the opening parts of this chapter it made me think about how some are afraid of the life and nature around them yet nature itself can and should be afraid of mankind. Man and nature need to have a mutual respect for each other because they are interdependent upon each other. Man needs the resources provided in nature and in order for nature to survive it has to be preserved from future exploitation done by mankind. Humans need to learn to take care of nature to preserve the survival of future generations.

    As for telling the holy, I went in from the perspective of an agnostic but agreed with a lot of his points. Sanders talked about myths, the Holy, and rituals as being a way to comfort ourselves and to explain what is unknown. For a long time I had thought of religion as a source of connection to the community and a higher order but recently I have begun to think of it as being able to be used for the good of all who inhabit this planet. Sanders helped solidify that thought when he talked about the cultures across the globe growing up independent of each other who all held a close connection to the land. As the western world has begun to move away from religion that connection to the land that we use has worsened and the care for it is starting to vanish altogether. Although I, myself do not follow a religion I find it more and more useful in caring for others and the planet as I think deeper into the purpose of it and its practical uses.


  6. Of all of this weeks readings, I found Scott Russell Sander’s “Earth’s Body” especially intriguing. He made some very interesting points describing his own and other humans’ intimate relationship with earth. Whenever Sander’s feels fearful, he looks to the outdoors for relief. During “Earth’s Body”, Sanders describes how he often awakes at night with fear and uses the calm of wilderness to soothe him. I really liked this idea because I often look to the outdoors for relief of stress. Going for a walk and admiring the trees and listening to the sounds of nature for instance is one way I find calmness in a stressful day. When I do this I try and block out all things on my mind that are not serving me and become present in the moment. Spending time in nature is very therapeutic to me, even if it is just reading my book outside or taking my yoga practice outdoors. I can really relate to Sander’s idea of finding peace in the wilderness. I have also spent many mornings waiting for the sun to come up and it is always an amazing start to my day.


  7. In reading the “Earths Body”, by Scott Russell Sanders, you come to terms on what it means to have a deeper connection with the earth itself. We as a people are very dependent on the land we are on, always hoping for the best results when we become one with it. In this essay, the author describes what nature is for him and how he views it. You could say that he is almost in love with it. By relaying his personal experiences with nature he grabs our attention and makes us view the earth on a more deeper level of thinking. He describes what he has gone through being out in nature and the beauty beyond. How every mountain delights him and every tree brings a calm clarity of mind. He puts into perspective how he views the earth like another relationship with another human being. That we as humans ourselves take for granted what is right in front of us. I agree with the fact that we take the earth for granted without even realizing it. Sometimes we are too caught up in our own lives to stop and appreciate what is around us. Even though this statement is true Scott Sanders decides to go in more depth of the relationship he has with nature and this is where I don’t agree with all of his points. He calls nature his “invisible lover”. It’s almost as if he is saying he would rather love the environment around him more than the people that are in his life. I think that as incredible as nature is, it shouldn’t preside over the relationships we have now with the people in our lives. I do enjoy that he brings a much more detailed perspective in this essay. His point is to provide examples of the important the environment and nature around us is. That we shouldn’t take for granted what is right in front of us.

    In the next essay entitled “Telling the Holy”, our author presents new ideas to the ever changing earth. From the perspective of Jeremiah Loft you can see the urgency in each word to how he sees the world ending. He uses points of how religion is often a great source of comfort for us all and the further we move away from it the more antagonistic we become towards the earth. Religion brings us all together in some way or another and I enjoy how Sanders explores that concept further. In this over all reading, I feel we are to grasp the concept of nature more profoundly and realize that it is not something we can just over look.


  8. What I found most intriguing about the “Earths Body” by Scott Russell Sanders was that it touched on many ways we interact with nature in order to keep involved and have influence. The most effective line I found was, “The man who dances in the backyard with an invisible lover, and then comes in the house humming to breakfast with his family, is the same one who was shaken like a rag by dread in the depths of the night.” What I got from this was even the ones who throw themselves in nature are still bothered by the thought of death. This is why I believe he is very bothered by the phrase “living midnight”. I also believe you could argue those who make these great connections with nature are actually more afraid since they don’t want these relationships to end. That is why you have to accept nature for what it is and love it for all the comfort it brings. I believe this all ties in to his quote, ” Hardest of all is to live through midnight, to accept the knowledge of one’s own private extinction and still return to daylight charged with passion and purpose. I believe the one’s who accept nature for what it is are challenged with this idea it just depends on how you cope with. The idea that one day you will cease to exist is a very scary thought(to some). But one thing you have to keep in mind is we have forever, before birth, not existed. Because we have been born we are indefinitely a part of nature. That is why you must love/accept nature for what it is. A beautiful place in which we all reside and will forever in the form of change.


  9. Earth’s body brings up some very prudent points in my life. The feeling of the dirt under my finger nails always helps to remind me of my place in this world. That I am a steward of this land and I need to due my best that I can, to not only make up for those who don’t care or even possibly inspire someone else to go plant some seeds in the ground. My garden’s have always been a area of pride for myself even though this year’s has gone awry due to a litany of different circumstances, some in my control and others not. I do wish that this connection was able to calm my ever running mind and help alleviate the fear of the unknown that we all face every time we get out of bed. Many times this fear cripples me, leaves me unable to do anything but try and escape.

    I like that Sanders says not only is the earth our mother but it is also our father, brother, sister, etc… It is an excellent way to remind us that we are of this planet. That we are part of the natural systems despite our best efforts to remove ourselves. It is something that all people need to understand, this knowledge I feel would cause more people to think about their actions and choices especially when it comes to the world we will hand down to those who are yet to come.


  10. “Earth’s Body” was definitely my favorite reading that we covered in class this week. The way that Scott Russell Sanders described the way we should view the earth was a huge eye opener for me, personally. He spoke of the Earth as if it was something we should treasure and appreciate at all times, and I completely agree with that even though I tend to forget that we live in such a beautiful world sometimes. I enjoyed reading his writings because he is consistently very descriptive and he helped me really feel what the reading was trying to get the readers to feel and he helped me picture what he wanted his readers to picture. Reading “Earth’s Body” reminds me that I should be appreciative of the nature of everyday life, slow down, and take the time to enjoy how relaxing the Earth’s nature can really be. Some of the parts of this reading got a little weird, but I think that’s just what made it all more interesting in the long run. Overall, I am already very impressed by the writings of Scott Russell Sanders and I look forward to reading some more of his pieces in the future of this class.


  11. During my reading of Earth’s Body, I took away a lot of valuable understandings of what is it to be one with the earth and how we are all part of it. One of my favorite quotes from the chapter Earth’s Body is, “There is no division between where we live and what we are.” Personally, to me this saying that we are all human and we all live on earth so we are all one with the earth. Some things that really impressed me about Scott Russell Sanders was the way he could literally take anything and make it incorporated into anything and everything. He used various ways to describe things in the earth and how we are all one with earth. Overall, I thought this was a very interesting chapter sometimes it was hard to follow but I preferred this style of writing over the article that we were assigned to read online about the ecosystem.


  12. Out of the readings discussed in class in the past week, I think the article “Earth’s Body” by Scott Sanders is quite fascinating. The author’s creative way of describing the human’s attachment to earth in so much detail was pretty interesting to read. He relates some earth aspects to others and humans in ways I found very original and imaginative.
    In this article, Sanders highlights the connection humans have with the earth. His perspective is so unique, which got me thinking about the earth in a different way. For example, he says, “My eyes may be empty, but my ears quickly fill. The air sizzles with insect song.” Calling the collection of insect sounds that is always present at night a ‘song’ is something I would never have thought of as a description. Also, I found it interesting when he referred to earth as “our mother…our father, it is our brother and sister, husband and wife, male as well as female.” This conveys that our connection with the earth is much greater than it appears. Another part of this article that I really liked was when Sanders included a quote by Walt Whitman; he says, “Grass might be the beautiful uncut hair of graves.” I would’ve never thought of grass as something like that because it is so common around me and I see it everyday. In this quote, I realized how one could describe something in such a beautiful, distinctive way.
    However, one thing I disliked about the article is how Sanders referred to the earth in a sexual way because I don’t think the relationship with other humans can be compared to a relationship with earth, however strong it may be.


  13. This reading by Sanders, “Earth’s Body”, was one of the more interesting reading we have went over in this class. I found it fascinating the way he described how he sees in earth through his own eyes. I found this interesting because he might describe it in a whole new way and something completely different to how someone else might view it. He also describes his views and appreciations of earth from many different aspects that someone also might have not even begin to have thought of. I think Sanders has a whole new level of appreciation of earth and the nature around hi,. Also from this reading I took away ways and ideas of how everyone should view and appreciate earth. I feel like I go through my everyday life not even noticing the beautiful nature surrounding me which I realize is completely the wrong way to live life. This was an eye-opener to me, realizing that I might not appreciate it as much as I should.


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