I was an intensely religious child. On Easter, at least once, I prayed on Good Friday kneeling in a grove next to our house for three hours, expecting Jesus to appear. Then I was nine. Now I am 64. Now Jesus seems as fantastic to me as any wonderful (literally) tall tale. But there’s still a connection with the boy in the grove: Nature. I believe that Nature–which includes so much, from skinks to hurricanes–that Nature matters. That I believe.
Nature is what endures, the bedrock. When my father died I went for a walk over some lovely Maryland hills. For a strecth, two butterflies fluttered ahead of me. “That’s what counts,” I thought, and felt complete relief from grieving.
Now I spend every morning imagining that I am taming what was Louisiana cane field two years ago into a garden–planting, weeding, feeding. If what we believe makes for happiness, then happiness is transforming dirt into roses, fig trees, grapes, and beans.
But, as the marvelous American poet, Theodore Rothke, said, “Great Nature has another thing to do to you and me.” When it does it to me, the sedge and cinquefoil and milkweed will rule once more. And that’s good.
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