Dirty Hands

IMG_3385Nearly a year has passed since I began the journey that has now become The Trespasser’s Garden. Initially, I devoted much of my research and creative energies to the specifics on each invasive plant I hoped to explore. Viewing them as lone big bad wolves, my first creative exploits focused on these individuals more or less in a vacuum. As spring transitioned into summer, however, my understanding deepened. I watched bees pollinate indiscriminately, buzzing about buckthorn blossoms as if they were no different than the fragrant flowers of a native cherry. Remembering the flocks of cedar waxwings gorging themselves on buckthorn berries late last fall, the intertwining nature of the systems and processes involved in the spread of invasive plants became clearer.

Nature: natural selection, life cycles, food chains, climate change, drought, floods, harsh winters, hot summers, wildfires, forest succession, evaporation, microclimates, hydrologic fluctuations, disease, decay, erosion, migration, evolution, extinction…IMG_4603

There is no longer a natural world untouched by humanity. At this point our hands are so dirty, there is no soap or solvent that will make them clean again. Perhaps it is time we embrace our dirty hands, hold them high and show each other where we’ve been and where we want to go. Let’s get blisters from pulling and cutting out buckthorn. Let’s drop to our knees and remove seaweed from our boat trailers. Let’s fill our gardens with native plants and watch them grow into ecosystems. Most importantly, let’s write and sing and scream and whisper to all who will listen so that the hands of our children and our children’s children might be a little less dirty and their world a little bit cleaner.


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