Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pine(y) Power

Piney is a derogatory term that refers to native inhabitants of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Pine Barrens have sandy, acidic soil considered unsuitable for traditional farming by early settlers, who called the land "barren". The area is forested mainly with pitch pine and scrub oak. Many areas are swampy with cedar forests that grow along brownish-red, fresh water called "cedar water". The red color is actually created by the high level of iron-ore in the soil.

Living conditions in the "Barrens" were considered inhospitable, and those that lived there were considered to be the dregs of society,
fugitives, poachers, moonshiners, runaway slaves or deserting soldiers. Often poor, Pineys were forced to make a living in any way possible. They collected and sold sphagnum moss or pine cones, hunted, fished, and lived off of the land. Some of the pineys included notorious bandits known as the Pine Robbers.

Pineys often fostered stories of how terrible the Pine Barrens are or how violent they were in order to discourage outsiders and law enforcement from entering the Barrens. The
Jersey Devil stories often had this effect.

Today, pineys tend to wear the label as a badge of honor, much like the term "
redneck" has become in the Appalachian Mountains and the Southern United States.


Ran watchless, and didn't notice EXACTLY what time I left the house, nor when I came back in; so I'm TOTALLY guessing on my time [5 miles in about 45 minutes]. It "felt" about my usual casual 9-minute per mile pace.

A gorgeous warm October afternoon ... Do you know, fallen and dried pine needles have a VERY different aroma when they've been warmed up by the splintered sunlight of the woods than they do under the cold Pre-Dawn stars, clouds and fog.

In the daytime they have a cozy scent, like freshly baked bread; very comforting and protective. At night-time they have a more cleansing aspect; not necessarily medicinal [like witch-hazel, for example, which is kinda close] but a sort of purifying way ... like the pine goes into your nose and your lungs to clear the troubles out of your soul.

Oh, yeah ... I got beaned in the noggin again - not by an acorn, but a pinecone this time ... couldja tell???

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