A VIEW FROM BERKELEY SPRINGS

September 8, 2005—A Judgment Day


Out of the Labor Day Weekend emerged a path in the wood.
There must have once been sort
of a road there in that flat
cut across the slope. But the way
had become populated by weeds,
that damning word for the vines, maple sprouts, and grasses grown
over a trail. They had bushed up
waist-high almost a hedge-wall
that made the hundred-year old wagon track almost impassible.
Of course, the weeds must've felt entitlement. Their claim as right
as anything that my mind might
imagine as to what really matters
as grace would give our earth.

 

 

Yes, it runs the risk of hubris, of presumption or overweening pride, to slash out certain plants,
to select others for nurture. Yet that's exactly at the heart of stewardship,
and why else are we here?
In particular, isn't that why this 4.4 acre plot came under my hands, under our care?

    For my heart can't bear to watch the non-native, invasive grapevine,
the honeysuckle, and multiflora rose choke the trunks,  

guzzle the scarce water, and blanket off the sunlight from the heaven-bound branches of the old red and white oaks, the two remaining pines, the memory of elms.

These vines yield no wine, no honey fragrance, no garden of roses.

.

 

 

 

Proof of their work is evident

in the impenetrable thicket

on the left hand,

toward the "civilized" side

of the old way.

Like the cursed castle of Sleeping Beauty, or that of Beauty and the Beast,
the gates to the Gardens of Eden have been closed.
Our mission is to tend our earth with tears and sweat and, yes, with blood;
and because our labors are filled with mindfulness, our heart-felt work spills only such blood,
even the plant we label "weed," which is--somehow in the great mystery--a requisite sacrifice.

Perhaps then

Beauty rises out of a long sleep,

even out of what seemed

to be the Beast.


Perhaps then

this grace of beauty

wipes away our tears,

eases that unendurable pain,

and sprinkles enough--

and not too much--

of the power of oneness.

 

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Last Updated: March 5, 2006

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