Monday, March 21, 2011

Bridgewater, Maine

Branches in winter

I’ve been following the curve of the road back to the end of the land every day, except Sunday. Some days, when it’s above 40, the snow is damp and soft and I sink through up to my thigh in some places. Some days, when it’s closer to 30, like today, I can walk across the icy crust of the snow and head to places unknown.

I’ve been visiting this piece of land for seven years now, and I know it pretty well—where it arcs and curves north above the gravel pit to the beaver pond, where it opens up into the big wide field they call Strawberry Field, where the hill rises behind the washout, and how it looks on the other side. I feel like I know it.

“We must stand apart from the conventions of history, even while using the record of the past, for the idea of history is itself a western invention whose central theme is the rejection of habitat.” --Paul Shepard

“I wonder if the Ground has anything to say? I wonder if the ground is listening to what is said?” –Young Chief of the Cayuses tribe, upon signing over their lands in 1855

I know I don’t truly know this land, or have any possession of it. But if I continue to follow its lines, every day, don’t I love it better than anyone else? It’s almost like the only dignity is to be found in treating the land itself with compassion and love, to listen to it, to be mindful of it.

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