Lessons from Plants

(after The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry)

Sometimes, when I despair at this view,
this wide and beautiful view that once
was the intimate domesticity of trees,
I go and lie down under
the blackened corpses of giants,
amongst the groundcovers and mosses,
the lilies and the weeds, and I feel
their thrum of life, their steady growth, their
complete lack of judgement or grief, and I think
that I too could be as simple as that, and I too
could just get on with growing.

. . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . .

It’s a long process, fire recovery. Before Christmas I was involved in an exhibition at Fabrik called ‘Regenerate‘. It was gorgeous, as their exhibitions usually are. I had some art works in it, some brown paper bags on which I had drawn little things that I had noticed during the year since the fire. And I wrote and performed a poem about keeping on going through this long and involved process of recovering your life. It was not just for those who had lost tangible things to the fire, actually, but for everyone, because the whole society is suffering a level of trauma after that year, 2020. I made people cry. Great. Job done.

But anyway, the process of thinking towards that poem had me thinking about the word ‘regenerate’. It is a word we often think about when we think of the bush after fire, but I felt the word was not quite on the mark somehow. I thought, ‘This growth isn’t RE-generation. It is completely new.’

I think that is worth thinking about. We seek to get things ‘back to normal’ because we are uncomfortable. But what if we can create something new that is better than what was normal in the past?

Here’s to that.

Eucalyptus seedling and moss

18 thoughts on “Lessons from Plants

      1. I often have trouble remembering more than one or two of my favorite poets, or being able to name more than one or two of their poems…..and I’ve never been one to memorize poems. My memory is just kind of shot….

  1. A wonderful poem Belinda and I agree with your thoughts. We definitely need something new, wholesome and all together different to what went before;

    1. Thanks Suzanne. Indeed we do. It will happen I think. At first slowly but then very quickly. It takes chaos and discomfort for people to even consider change. and the world is throwing it at us.

      1. As I read your comment I came to feel that you are right about the way the change will happen. There is a lot of resistance and chaos now but the global shut down of last year showed us that it is possible to change the way we live very, very quickly. Once people realise it’s imperative to change the way forward will become clearer.

  2. Beautiful poem, I can hear your gentle voice reading it. It seems that to be alive means always being faced with the grief of impermanence.

    carbon ash
    sprinkled with fairy dust
    our dreams of immortality.

    Love Nicole x

    1. Beautiful haiku, Nichole. Yes, impermanence, change, I think one needs to centre oneself somehow and be simple. To not attach the griefs to each other. To be, that old cliched truth, in the moment.
      Btw, I’m missing you. Glad when I duck over to Insta and see your things. Hope all is well for you. And that you and your loved ones are staying out of harm’s way.

        1. It must be a tremendous relief to be getting the jabs where you are. I hope they are 100% good for you. Here there is zero community transmission (touch wood) so people a carrying on about the vaccine. Interesting times.

  3. And FINALLY I have found my way back here. My apologies for flaw-pointing and running….I got pulled away….

    A fine reflection on Berry’s poem (and thanks for the introduction to his poem–he’s been on my wish-list for some time and just got bumped up closer to the top).

    I really appreciate how close you kept both the feel and structure of your piece to his, as , to me at least, they really do both speak to the same aspect of our human condition and I can easily see how his piece spoke to you.
    I’ll take it as a sign of trust in the future perhaps that you can view your landscape as a “wide and beautiful view.” It must be like living on the moon, seeing it so altered. And so, yes! Make it a new home on the moon!

    “I think that is worth thinking about. We seek to get things ‘back to normal’ because we are uncomfortable. But what if we can create something new that is better than what was normal in the past?”

    And what if this, our desire for “normalcy” is itself what causes our discomfort? I think that we are always creating something new and it is a matter of whether we are aware of it or not–whether we are open to this newness, or wish for things to stay as they are (which they never do, of course….).

    So yes, indeed! Here’s to that!


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