I’m going to start off my semi philosophical / ranty / musing post with two quotes from Richard Manning’s book Grassland:
“Our science, our poetry, and our democracy fail because they lack specific information of the plants.”
“The culture of plants is the same as the culture of people.”
That last one is around a discussion of Aldo Leopold’s idea of a land ethic (and if you’ve not read A Sand County Almanac, exactly what are you waiting for?). In all my thinking and writing, and sometimes in my doing out in the garden as I plant or photograph, I’m developing a land ethic. It is not one that is in response to the land—not as a manager, caretaker, or gardener—but one of learning from the land the cycles of life, of creation, of existence beyond myself, which in turn makes me more aware of my own creation.
Recently there was a video, which I posted to my blog’s Facebook page last Friday, showing a massive swarm of starlings shifting and pulsing like bed sheets over a lake. Superimposed on the spectacle was loud music, which destroyed the birds, the lake, the moment. I wonder why we have to push ourselves so much on the world, why we can’t or won’t or don’t shut up and listen and be in it (why do college students surgically implant ear buds into their ears?). Maybe we’d be less apt to get angry, be jealous, and want something else, that promised land over the next horizon where life must be better, where we won’t be so human. Oh, the history of our pioneers....