Marge Piercy wrote of the time it takes to create what is good in life. In a fast-paced, hectic world, it is nice to view life as an ecosystem. Good things in life, those things I cherish, were nurtured and took time to appear. They depend upon many things to grow.
In the rich ecosystem, there is mystery and wonder. I ask, “What happened” and expect no definitive answers. I grow to accept it is good and healthy there are no answers and questions lead me forward, slowly and gently into the newness of each moment.
I took the picture at the farm earlier this spring. The tree in the centre is a woodpecker’s roost and, when I look, I see holes in the tree. A trail wanders through the underbrush. I ask who or what else uses the path? Who or what else lives close by? What are the connections? The lifeless tree sustains the ecosystem. Everything is important. I only have to let it be so. When I slow down, questions emerge and sometimes answers, but only occasionally.
Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend to them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat the insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.
Connections are made slowly. sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than a half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworms that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.
Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.
Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.