There is a place where the town ends,
And the fields begin.
It’s not marked but the feet know it,
Also the heart that is longing for refreshment
And, equally, for repose.
Someday we’ll live in the sky.
Meanwhile, the house of our lives is this green world.
The fields, the ponds, the birds.
The thick black oaks-surely they are
The invention of something wonderful.
And the tiger lilies.
And the runaway honeysuckle that no one
Will ever trim again.
Where is it? I ask, and then
My feet know it.
One jump, and I’m home.
Hearing this poem I am reminded of the song, “Gentle Arms of Eden” by Tracy Grammer and David Carter. The chorus goes:
This is my home, this is my only home
This is the only sacred ground that I have ever known
And should I stray in the dark night alone
Rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden.
The green world is our home. Earth, our sacred ground that we know now, not fathoming if we become sky people at some future time as we ascend to the stars, or to heaven. Is there some invisible boundary between this “nature” and the expanse of urban life? Isn’t home all over the planet, even the places we have defiled and desecrated?
Later in this same song we hear:
Now there's smoke across the harbor, and there's factories on the shore
And the world is ill with greed and will and enterprise of war
But I will lay my burden in the cradle of your grace
And the shining beaches of your love and the sea of your embrace
I was speaking with my spouse about the future of the earth and how humans have changed the planet so. The topic came up as I explained how difficult it was for me to read historical novels of my home area. I had recently finished reading Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier and have begun reading Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. The span of history told of how the Southeast was once full of abundant oaks, fish, and birds, and now to my eye it appears devastated.. I don’t know if I can finish this second novel, so painful is my response to what we have lost.
I mourned that we had lost paradise. To which my spouse replied, “The parrots you love are not so different or any more or less innocent than we. Perhaps the only difference is that they know they have not left paradise.”
Ah, my beloved homeland. Earth, my only home. We humans and what we build is nature and are the fruits of eden. Paradise never left us. Only in some artificial construct of human knowing and culture, we set up an artificial boundary of whether who we are and what we do belongs.
May today in my actions and thoughts, welcome and be welcomed.
Where do you feel the most at home? The least?