Sunday, July 29, 2012

We don't really want a monster

A canker in the heart of the heart of the country
Lately, with the beaver pond going dry in the front yard, after, the rumor is--our neighbor shot sixteen beavers and finally got the last one maintaining the dam and it washed out in the middle of the night-- after the endless apocalypse of wood clear-cut on the back side of the house, and the parasites destroying wholesale all the young poplar in the back woods, I feel surrounded on all sides by destruction.  Perhaps that's because I'm surrounded on all sides by destruction.  Our world is fringed by death, nibbled at its corners by desolation.  No one can find a whole leaf in the forest, untouched by parasite, mold, blight, worm.

Now I walk on the edge of wasteland.  It's an interesting job, the job of a farmer, of bringing life out of all that death.  A front-row seat to nature, red in tooth and claw.  Even a grouse, a stupid one, that kept fluttering beside me as I walked, only a mouthful of feathers in the trail yesterday.

It's becoming almost obscene to me this year--maybe it's the heat--the worms clustered on the undersides of leaves, ripe with decay, their overwhelming fecundity, the sheer quantity of them.  As inexorable as sin.  Every day more of them, more trees red with autumn in July.  All the poplar will disappear, I don't doubt.  The tiny cold stand I make against them is inadequate.

Even us--the germs that twist in our gut, the mites that burrow in our skin, the bugs that drink our blood.  We're at their mercy, at the mercy of whatever grace allows us to keep on living.  I try to coax a few small things to life.  My pot of basil.  Our frilled carrots, leafing ever more bravely to the sky.


Anonymous said...

Living close to nature is a good antidote to the romance of nature. But writing this from gritty Marseille, I can tell you that the romance of French city life is equally corrupted.

Melissa said...

I just read an article in the New Yorker about life in 1950s in gritty Madrid--Sonia recommended it--and it gives you this awareness that there's death nibbling at the corners whether you're a city or a country mouse.