One thing I'll always love about photography is the way it clarifies how things look when the person seeing hasn't grown so accustomed to the particular view that they forget what seeing them differently used to feel like. Since this week's water meditation is once again focused on the little stream that cuts through the edge of our property - I'm quite used to crossing the bridge in order to literally see things differently. Yet when I edited images for this post I was struck by what a different view that seven or eight foot span, bank to bank, affords. The bank on the far side of the bridge is higher by 3-5 feet. Tree roots and the bridge's placement don't obscure the beautifully clear scope of the water's modest breadth.
On top of the many other things to be done I need to rip out the encroaching periwinkle. It's everywhere here. So is pachysandra. The duo is an environmental pairing from hell and all too common blighted mis-step from mid to late 1970's landscape design. The house (circa 76) and extension (93) can be/has been easily enough retrofitted for today's more mindful geo-footprint but the escaped colonies of this pair that can be found throughout the woods and property lines, as well as running rampant in a liminal range between the dooryards and the field, are a problem we solve a lot more slowly than the plants thrive undeterred.
However. Due to our odd winter the pachysandra colonies in the woods and encroaching the field are in bud. They could flower in under a month - right about the time the bumblebee queens emerge to feed exhaustively or die mid-flight in search of food. It's the only upside I have found so far - the early blooming colony/blankets keeping the bumblebee population on point
I'd come to the water because I'm doing what I can to shed or at least dismantle as much of my own human/media-driven fear factor(s) as possible. There's politics, certainly. But more as a plant reader/herbalist-ish person, I've found It's been disconcerting as well as intellectually interesting to see the way my survivalist/preparedness buttons get pushed by what's in the news - and far more pressingly what is NOT in the news, at least here in the US, concerning coronavirus. I said more on the subject and deleted.
My intentional point is that I always come here and stand on the stream's opposite bank when I'm seeking a perception change. A friend of mine calls this kind of move sympathetic yoga. Same basic premise as sympathetic magic but more about shifting the specifics of muscle memory/psychic elevation than direct energy transmutation. In this case, I released the pent-up energy of a few what-ifs asked in gentle recognition that I and most of the other earth-loving people I know are strong on multiple levels. Self-sustaining in ways that always seem enhanced by a desire to be joyful. To look at what hasn't changed within the resources and wisdom of nature close at hand.
My feet were enjoying a new and vastly improved perspective as well. After noticing how often the posts here feature me fretting over insufficient footwear I thought I ought to change that dynamic while I'm able. Have begun my Year of Proper Shoes with a pair of very thick vibram soled waterproof shoes for walking in our woods, on local trails and while gardening. One pair down, two to go. Will whittle that down to just one if budget demands - I have never had decent hiking boots. And yet. I haven't just sauntered in the woods. I have ... hiked - a moderately fair amount. Just never in proper shoes because - well. Because I've spent so much of my adult/responsible life worrying about getting/staying sick. To a degree where maybe splurging in this way would be a waste and thus irresponsibly self-indulgent.
It's ridiculous - at least in light of today's world. I intend, given the opportunity, to live long and well enough by my own definition that I wear them down to flaps of ragged leather bursting from their seams. Thinking such thoughts I walked all over in the muddy goo with the cat jumping lightly from rocks to tree roots. For awhile after we first entered the woods my eyes misplaced her. In a previous part of her life she was named ghost. Sometimes it seems apt to her form if not her personality.
When I took this picture we were right on the verge of the swampier place that we leave to wild creatures. It abuts a part of the woods and stream's path where I don't go more than once a season. I really like J. to have it as a form of personal space the way the field gardens have become my ramshackle green nation kingdom-come-true.
Mama and I end most of our off-season woods visits via the path by the old well. This is a powerful sacred-feeling place of unknown origin/human history. Many different animals call it Home as do a whole colony of trees. The path pre-existed our arrival - in large part as a game trail that services every larger creature from turkeys to deer and coyote. In the green months none of us use this path or those spidering out from it. We only move along the paths close to the utility buildings and compost bin. Early spring and later autumn offer the rare opportunity for exploration that isn't intrusive. An enormous hare lives back here somewhere. Also woodchucks and innumerable small rodent species. Speaking of the field gardens - I spent a long time prowling around the various cultivated and wild corridors of the beds. I saw in my mind's eye how the garden might be improved by clearing more of the space claimed by goldenrod. I want to enlarge the growing space to the left of the edges in this pic - a long narrow strip of an enlargement beginning just a bit left of the whiskey barrels at both end of the bed. I want this strip to combine calendula, tomatoes and sunflowers. See how that works. Maybe also consider a perpendicular strip where the bench currently sits. Create from it a raised bed for root vegetables. In the past I've used the whiskey barrels but want to give them over to restorative tea herbs exclusively from this point forward.
Formulating these plans yesterday, and mentally embellishing them just now in my mind's eye, I sense a resilience that's very well-known to gardeners. I'm deeply concerned by how early in the year the earth is waking herself but I'm also wondering how to make the smartest and wisest adaptation to this kind of shift. For we humans, sure, but also for everything else that lives here. When I stood in the garden and visualized its enlargement I had a sense of confidence this was a wise use of my brain's time and space.
Providence willing, as they say ...
another happy grace note of our mild winter is the alive and thriving condition of a lemon thyme that was stranded on the lower deck for the winter after our late October cold snap froze it solidly in place. I brought in a few tiny sprigs and a couple precious deep green lemon balm leaves for some fresh green rejuvenative tea.