Many thanks to Darcy from Life with my 3 Boybarians for sharing this beautiful post and photos with us.
I walk through a rather desolate area not far from my home. The camera strapped around my neck bounces gently at my hip. I think of suburbia and make a mental checklist comparing what I see before me to the house-lined streets in Anytown, USA.
Humans are so interesting with their riches. We plow down trees, level slopes, remove anything that grows and we replace it with grass seed and chemicals and cut it over and over and over. We plop our homes, sometimes impossibly close to neighbors, and remove any sign of what was. Tidy, manicured, symmetrical lawns on a flat, green carpet. The same perfect partition of properties block after block. We fertilize, pesticide, herbicide, work impossibly hard to force out-of-place plants, and chase away whatever creatures threaten our polished exterior.
It occurs to me that some children may never see land such as I am seeing now. This wild place, this unkept forest with its wildflowers, untamed branches, unmanaged slopes and thick timber is so beautiful that for a moment I want to cry.
Crickets strum loudly, the tall wild grasses shuffle and bend as some unknown critter runs away at my approach. A mother hawk cries out as she circles overhead. In the field across the mossy pond, a herd of cattle graze. The sun, about an hour from her bedtime, paints the fields and weeds and grasses with a warm shade of gold that no camera’s image could do justice.
Realtor signs dot the wild land in uniform distances. An awkwardly-posed, photographed face and phone number seem to shout against this mental postcard. I shake my head sadly, knowing that soon, too, this magical place of untamed, beauty – a place so untouched and perfect that only One could possibly have created it – will soon be yet another row of identically-trimmed lawns and manicured landscapes in front of brick and stone upper-middleclass homes. The tree will be removed, as an insurance company will declare the thick, dry branches too risky for the expensive roof that will soon sit below it. The creatures scurrying up and fluttering within it, will have to move. The quiet paths, with hoof-worn, matted grass will be bulldozed and replaced with a patio. The dark forest, where noisy life somehow manages to grow in wispy streams of light, will be plowed and the sprinkler system will force green carpet once the dense overhead has been thinned.
But at this moment, before humans pillage this place, I whisper a thank you for the magical glimpse at what just is. I am humbled with the realization that no mediocre attempt at reshaping, filing and polishing earth could ever be how it was created to be.
How many other things do humans try to fix? Our lawns, our environment, our bodies? Perhaps these things, too, are better left to Someone Else’s design.
Darcy and her husband live in wild, rural Iowa nowhere near a Starbucks. She is a mom, writer, homeschooler, geeky graphic designer, photographer wanna-be, blogger and has an unhealthy relationship with her espresso machine. You can find her blog at Life with my 3 Boybarians.