The horse's pasture to the East...

Monday, April 4, 2016

NO SONGS THIS YEAR, Just waiting...

My beautiful, peaceful place has been disturbed. We live on a preserve. Over the past year it has changed hands and is no longer owned by the surrounding neighbors. It's now owned by several environmental entities and controlled? directed? run? by the local state university. 

The frogs are quiet this spring, for the first time in the fifteen years we've been here. I'm used to a chorus that starts in March and continues well in to September. It's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of frog song with deep base to the highest soprano treble. 

And over that are the birds. We have species of birds here that are just not seen anymore in this part of the country. They begin their music before the frogs, they call the frogs to the surface and wake them up and it builds and builds to these crescendos that take my breath away. It really is where music began, I think. 

Percussion comes from the flickers and woodpeckers beating out hollow rhythms on the barrels of old trees and even the top of our crooked little barn. I know it's spring before anyone else because I hear the knocking, like a marching band or sacred dance off in the woods. 

It's cold and quiet, so quiet you can hear your heart beating and ears ringing. And it starts off in the distance with a breeze clacking together the oak leaves from last year. There's a bitter, clean smell as the air moves that makes you settle in to your place anticipating, leaning just a little and turning your head to catch it. It's the first tiny movements in the Spring Concerto leading you in to the 'room' where Nature sings to you.

But this year it is almost completely quiet. There are a few hardy little wrens who warble, waiting for the rest of their orchestra. And an occasional cardinal or cowbird but most of them are quiet, shocked, waiting and hiding. Why? We have neighbors who moved in to the other little house here on the property. And they have no respect for the land, none. They ride their ATV's, motor cycles, big beeping trucks fifty steps to the dumpster. Why walk when you can make an irritating NOISE? They shoot their guns at targets, play rap music and country music at the same time. Machines belch and rattle, grind and boom while junk car parts pile up. 

Trash blows everywhere. Big parties late in to the night, speeding cars up and down the road all day and sometimes until nearly the next morning. 

I'm not sure they're bad people, just disconnected from Nature. I don't think it occurs to them that the chaos they live in bothers anyone around them. They take it with them, bring it here and will, I have no doubt, probably take it with them when they move on. 

But I don't think it's the people next door who are the real problem. It's the so called academics and environmental agencies who are at the root of it all. They operate under this lumbering, cumbersome bureaucratic rules laden system that is the actual cause of the disconnect. The people who belong to this university group contact me the day before to dictate when they are going to be here, completely oblivious to the natural cycles or that we might have plans and a life of our own. They come out and crash through the forest to "observe", taking groups of graduate students who act little kids with no one supervising them. I know they're here because the forest goes quiet, the animals and even the insects hide. 

They crash through stepping on delicate wildflowers, leaving trash and even a ladder they use as a way to cross the creek. A ladder?! Who does that? It's like this quiet place is a petting zoo and humans are the predators who stare through the windows, laughing at the depressed animals and their odd behaviors. 

We've cared for this land for fifteen years, hauling away the crap that emerges in the spring rains. We live quietly and leave no foot steps or imprints on the land. We think in terms of seven and seven and seven generations ahead. And we listen.

Does anyone take the time to listen, wait, watch and just be? When did we so completely withdraw from our natural selves and the beautiful land around us? I wish there were courses in school that taught students how to BE without agendas or hustle and noise, and the doing, doing, doing we seem to be so addicted to. I wish people understood the value of a quiet existence. 

I guess I'll wait and be quiet, like the frogs and birds. And when they leave, if I'm still here, I will clean up after them and remind myself that we are tiny blips on a vast scale. This will pass and when it does, the frogs and birds will sing again. The bones of the Earth will still be here and so will my connection, a gift I never take for granted.

I am, ever yours, Nancy, waiting, waiting, waiting...

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