I wrote the following quote and reflections in my journal back in May during our “home time” and I was able to just sit and watch nature from my living room…
I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty beats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them, under the wind-rent clouds, upstream and down. Simone Weil says simply, ‘Let us love the country here below. It is real; it offers resistance to love.’– Annie Dillard
Sometimes it’s hard to love nature. It’s realness causes a “resistance to love.” Its decay and injury reflects my own. It shocks me into remembering my fragility and it tests my will power to greet another day.
She is a lady of extremes – the creek bed dry one day and the next it’s an overflowing mess turning the land into mud. It’s one or the other here. An earthquake and a storm alternate as visiting house guests. Was that tremor a “tremor” or was that the shake of the ground as a fallen tree hits? I don’t think I have lived here long enough to tell the difference quite yet. The really big tremors are the ones where I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel like I am on a cruise ship. More swaying and less vibrating. With the tree, the feeling is localized – the sound of trees leaning out of the way as you hear the swish of leaves and then boom; the deep thunder without the crackle of lightning.
My senses are acute here. The sensation of a flea versus a mosquito. The subtle scent of a ylang ylang somewhere on our land that I have not been able to find because I don’t wander at night. Is it a strong breeze carrying the fragrance from our neighbour’s land half a kilometre away? The shrill sounds of sloths calling in the distance is not a regular one but distinct and the seasonal sounds of cicadas return.
It never stops. There is never a pause long enough. The great god Vishnu turns a blind eye to this place. Preserving is difficult in the land of extremes. Life is too persistent. Create and decay are simultaneous. Growth is a blessing and a curse.
There was thunder a half an hour ago and clouds rolled in. Now there is blue skies and a hot sun. What is this place where there is no purgatory, no rest stop, no middle ground? Even if I shut my eyes, I can feel the movement still, everything eternally changing.
We built a home out of containers to keep things out – the bugs, the noise, the extremes. For the most part it does. But we can’t stay contained forever. Even mold makes its way up the interior walls.
Anything that can or has the will to survive does. Exponentially. It multiplies and thrives and even invades. If there is a will, there is a way. No matter how scarred or imperfect. I will adjust my growth pattern, says the Biriba tree, as the other trees race past it covering its old exposure to the morning sun. I watch it how it grows on an angle, wondering if I should help. Or is it like a child learning to feed itself?
How else will they learn without trying to do it on their own?