Recent events have unnerved me and pulled me just a little out of my lazy spring fever. It seems very clear that the global environment will be challenged more than ever during the years ahead.
Well, I attempt to begin to respond: I return to Gary Snyder’s poem, “For the Children", and his admonition to stay together, to learn the flowers and to go light.
So I have learned a lot of flowers in the past decades of my life. I start there. I see that floral taxonomy is not so much a matter of botany as it is a result of noticing, of watching, of caring.
That kind of taxonomy evolves through a relationship. It does not identify plants with Latin nomenclature but rather with unspoken names of delight and affection. And what has happened to me recently is that, against my latent Buddhist tendencies, I have become attached to everything from the shunned garlic mustard and honeysuckles to exotic golden seal and wood betony.
And now I really care what happens to them. I do not want to see them harmed. From that perspective, matters of saving an abstract planet Earth do not matter.
From the doorway of my realization, I stake out my landscape, draw its borders and embrace its creatures, and I know exactly why I do it. I learn the flowers of this place as though they were my children, and then I begin to glimpse what I might do.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of middle spring. In the meantime, learn the flowers, at least one. See what happens to you….