Thursday, April 06, 2006

What Comes After a Garden?

Lately I've been reading Wendell Berry's collection of poems entitled A Timbered Choir. While many of them speak to me, one in particular has been hanging in the back of my mind as I garden these days. He wrote it in 1991 and it's called "The Farm". Even though my garden is not remotely qualified to be called a farm, as I work I'm conscious of the same poignant feelings expressed in this excerpt....

There is no end to work -
Work done in pleasure, grief,
Or weariness, with ease
Of skill and timeliness,
Or awkwardly or wrong,
Too hurried or too slow.
One job completed shows
Another to be done.
And so you make the farm
That must be daily made
And yearly made, or it
Will not exist. If you
Should go and not return
And none should follow you,
This clarity would be
As if it never was.
But praise, in knowng this,
The genius of the place,
Whose ways forgive your own,
And will resume again
In time, if left alone.
You work always in this
Dear opening between
What was and is to be.

I love the thought that when I'm gone, "...the genius of the place, Whose ways forgive [my] own, ...will resume again In time, if left alone." The only part that does rather bother me is that when we go, my garden will not be left alone, but will be at the mercy of whoever buys our home. But a garden, like a life, is never static and freezing it in some "perfect" condition is never an option anyway. Hopefully at least some of the native plants that I have planted will be allowed to remain, returning to the area a small fragment of the natural habitat that makes up the richness of diversity originally known in south Alabama. Then I will have succeeded, in however small a way.

3 comments:

qkslvrwolf said...

I really like that poem. I may have to read some more of his work. And Wendall Berry has some great quotations.

This leads me to a slightly off topic note. The web (and blogging) works best when you use links to site that which you reference and quote.

There is a button on the posting widget (it looks like a globe with an infinity sign superimposed on top) that allows you to link things. Type them, highlight them with the mouse, then hit that button and paste the webaddress (i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendell_Berry) into the dialog, and voila! you have a link.

I'm not criticizing, merely trying to help you delve deep into the world of blogs.

Lone Wolf said...

The next garden, and hopefully one you'll see reach maturity

qkslvrwolf said...

When are you going to post again? I visit every day...and no post!