Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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Here, in the clear-cut, in this torn and devastated land, I find these berries, shining and fresh with the morning. This is a precious gift to receive – the affirmation that nature can renew, even this little bit.
This section of the Park is stark and lonely, a glimpse of post-apocalyptic Kejimkujik. The rain falls harder. Once, canoes pulled to the shore, as the People made their way from the interior down to the sea. They journeyed back and forth, back and forth, and there was meaning and reason in each movement, and the hemlocks, the dead and the living, were not lonely.
Committees are formed and protests are held; these are good things that raise awareness. Still the temperatures soar, fires rage, and there are earthquakes in divers places. Viruses outmaneuver vaccination efforts. Wars worsen and acts of terror horrify. The hollow eyes of starving children stare into the camera. Our world has become a scene from a fantasy novel or dystopian tale and, for some, a prophetic fulfilment.
Creation is set in motion according to natural laws. We study these laws and look for ways to improve them. We have done great things, but at great cost. The Creator does not reverse our failures; this would reduce the splendid laws of the universe to whim and fancy. We have done this to ourselves, and must take responsibility.
I walk the clear-cut, and I weep for Mother Earth. Yet there, amid the scrub, clusters of blackberries gleam. Here, in the clear-cut, in this torn and devastated land, I find these berries, shining and fresh with the morning. This is a precious gift to receive – the affirmation that nature can renew, even this little bit.
Look here, a voice whispers, for here is light in darkness, hope in despair. This is a miracle, and what is a miracle but a science that you do not know? Walk with reverence here, for I am making all things new. Remember that you belong to the earth, that the earth does not belong to you. Learn from the earth, but do not presume to teach it. The earth will renew itself, if you let it happen.