Growth of the Soil

Growth of the Soil is a book by Knut Hamsun. A friend, knowing what am I going through, advised me to read it.

I learned to read when I was five. I went to school when I was seven, where I read intensively and was the second fastest reader in a class. When next summer came, first school holidays, I realised, that I cannot see grasshoppers in a grass anymore. I only hear them. Twenty years later I ended up with -4 dioptries, that is a sight of a molerat I’d say. This is when I said to myself, that I should quit reading or at least limit it to no more than 1 h a day.

The biggest issue in my case was that I could not work in the field or forest and read at the same time.

There however is a free internet and computers in a library or at my parents place. And I have 1,8″ portable hard drive to store data and the cheapest fake iPod shuffle mp3 player, that I bought specially to entertain myself while doing monotone work or riding a bicycle. I found then audiobook on in many small files – chapters. My player had a problem, that it does not play files in order, that’s why it’s called shuffle I guess, so I had to combine them in larger 1 hour files. I used old Cool Edit Pro (very old version of Adobe Audition). I also shifted a frequency, so that it reads faster. In many cases audiobooks downloaded are in stereo, which for me is not necessary, so I make smaller mono files as well.

I do not advise these fake iPods, because they last only 4 h and after years of use even less hours instead of 12 hours of the real thing. It was not a problem in my case because for extra freedom I have neither a mobile phone with me, nor a watch, so end of playback lets me know that 4 hours had passed and it is time to have some food and change activity.

And there I was, cutting bushes or grass, digging, carrying and listening to the book. But later listening to the ambience of nature around me was of course nicer. And I also dreamt of old times, when young people were working in the field, but near them was their old grandpa or grandma telling stories or leading a folksinging.


About Pavels Melnis

Independent ecology activist, family farmer, gardener and forestkeeper. Musician: violin, guitar, singing. Hobbies: traveling by bicycle, learning to play different music instruments - accordion, piano, recorder flute, harmonica, drums; languages, theology, prehistory, logbuilding, repairing and recycling. Religious. Ecological. Love all things ethnic and traditional.
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