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The Other World Is This World
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You open your safe and find ashes. Here we are. Except, ashes are potash. Fertilizer. No matter how much I devour, I will always give it all back to the earth, there’s no way not to. Sometimes, I am influenced by books I haven’t read. “Islands of Abandonment” is one. Like all the articles about the flora and fauna of Chernobyl, this book is about all the places like that. Places we have nuked with development, sucked all the economical we can find, and then, finding no other value, we leave ruins.

Except, that nothing is ruined except, perhaps, our own opportunity to mindfully care for a specific patch of earth. In just the opening story, about an island in the Firth of Forth, just 4 miles of sea out from the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, an island that was a prison, a military fort, and so on with other ruinous projects dating back centuries, by the end of WW II there was only 1 species of bird that would go there. An island in the North Sea, a place, you would think has many sea going birds stopping by, breeding, fishing, doing bird things. Except, now that it does too. Since it has been completely abandoned, 12 species of birds now not only have a way station, but a home. The gun turrets, the prison barracks, all rusted open, provide caves and nesting places galore.

I am also influenced by books I have read. The most important book I’ve read lately is “Hidden Nature” by the BBC journalist, professional gardener, kayaker, and now, book writer, Alys Fowler. Her book works on the same principle, except, you don’t have to go anywhere.

I’ll give you an example. While my galpal was shopping I went on a great adventure behind the Grocery Outlet. What a ruin! Abandoned furniture, shopping carts, junk for an old auto repair place, construction materials , deconstruction materials, a mess, an eyesore by any valuation! Except one. I started taking pictures: honey locust, sunset bells, black locust, white mulberry, horseweed, prickly lettuce, lodgepole pine, Japanese hop (an invasive sadly), crown vetch, hairy aster, rib wort plantain, curly dock, common ragweed, chicory, mugwort, green foxtail, wild carrot.

As if this weren’t enough, a dragonfly started tracking me. There must be water? And there was, down by the rusted railroad track that served as a boundary to this contemporary example of mash up archeology, were puddles along the ties. And bees, of course, bees of the usual kind, and tiny bees less usually noticed, on the wild carrot, the chicory, the sunset bells.

This is an art I expect I will follow and transverse. My day was transformed. In a mess worse than a junkyard, I found riches beyond compare. Transforming our vision, I think that’s what we’re here for. I[m looking forward to more.


Sooooo good to hear from you again……I’ve missed you.

Thanks, Evelyn! Hoping you are completely healed by now! (Physically, at least!)

*Sorry, spell check hijacked my words beyond my notice! It is Evalyn, of course!!!

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