Wild Land

This year’s summer tied me to the land here more than others have.  Could it have been the scowling at New Zealand apples taken as slaves to the opposite end of the earth?  Or the skipping through the farmer’s markets to the rhythm of the bluegrass?  Could it have been the hands in my own garden soil, vegetables growing in spite of me?  Or the apples by bucketful tasting like my first summers alive?

No, it was by the creeksides I discovered the true fruit of the land — the wild ones who persist because they are grateful themselves.  The tangle of native plants were christened: sumac, hackberry, riverbank grapes.  An unfamiliar tingle of grapeseed on my tongue gave me the beginning of true wealth.  I welcomed friendly lamb’s quarter, pushing high into seed for next year’s planting.  The named shot forth because they belong here.  We are both here now, and it is necessary we intersect our lives.

Freeways pave over life that has already been rooted here, as we humans announce our presence.  Weeds of color fly by car windows on our way to happy take-out, automatic living on the cheap.

But the wilds aren’t cheap.  They’re free.  They did not call forth objection to be plowed underfoot, but silently remained where they could to continue to give forth nourishment and vitality.  They humbly raise hands to the heavens and shoot forth in profusion where unharnessed.

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