A Memory, A Wish

There are no unsacred places;
There are only sacred places
And desecrated places.

—Wendell Berry, from "How To Be a Poet"
One of the best parts of being in the middle of nowhere is the fact that every walk is rewarded with a sighting of something new and unfamiliar.One day, perhaps, it's an unusual caterpillar, pelted (alas) by hail. Another day (yesterday, in fact), it's a lone orchid in the woods or a stand of long-searched-for chanterelles. Today, it was a green heron regally posed at the side of the dead-end road near the neighbor's pond.

When I was a kid at the very wonderful Farm & Wilderness Camps in the Exceedingly Great State of Vermont, I had a memorable and influential counselor named Linda Lee.

Linda was a kindred spirit—a term I almost never use. She was a wise and loving guide for my burgeoning adoration of the natural world.

One August afternoon, while Linda and I were walking in the woods, I mentioned how much I hoped, one day, to see a wood frog—a beautiful species I'd looked at only in books.

Linda said she'd found that, sometimes, by simply asking something of Mother Nature with respect and humility, special creatures would appear or events unfold or requests be answered. Sometimes, she said, you just have to ask in the proper spirit. So I did.

And guess what? Within moments a tiny wood frog with its softly banded, raccoon-ish face and its mushroom-brown body, appeared in the path on which Linda Lee and I walked that unforgettable walk.

I so hope to live to see a day when we can accord nature the respect it—she—we deserve, for as surely as we sink, sell, denigrate, and disparage Mother Nature—from whom (it's only too obvious to say and too easy to ignore) we all come and to whom (hat in hand) we'll soon enough return—we sink, sell, denigrate, and disparage ourselves.

That is why I hope we will take action to resist this latest bit of nonsense from President Cheney and the BushPuppet from Hell, Inc.—because Mother Nature and her growing cadre of endangered flora and fauna cannot issue press briefings, sue on their own behalf, take up arms to defend themselves, hire a lobbyist, or pose for a nauseating photo op with Condi Rice.

It's up to us to decide just how much desecration we're going to stand for—in every sense of the term.

1 comment:

amarilla said...

I love your story about the wood frog, and the dark landscape's seriously beautiful coupled with the image of the pink & black caterpillar on your (?) pink hand. So nice!