The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

Beauty leads to love leads to beauty

Dahlias on the stem
Downtown is eerily quiet. The tourists have gone home, and there is plenty of parking. It’s a cliché to say the season is changing, when truth is the seasons never stop changing as the planet on its tilted celestial spindle angles its forehead toward and then away from the warming sun. After a couple weeks of denial, I finally must acknowledge that the seeming storm clouds blanketing me at 4:30 in the afternoon are really sundown moved up from it’s temporary 9 p.m. time slot.

In similar manner, morning comes a few hours later, and though a short time ago I was able to read in bed without the intrusion of artificial light, now there is insufficient illumination on the page and I am faced with the choice of getting up or remaining there in the comfort of my best friend breathing beside me in the unwaning dawn.

A fellow named Socrates noted beauty leads us to love, which leads us to beauty. Across the room, it is not the mind of the woman that invites a man to seek conversation. But it likely will be the conversation that invites continued attraction.

We start that capture attempt early in life. A child’s walk in the woods turns into an attempt to collect things — flowers, at first, then fungi of intriguing colors and shapes, occasionally a dead bird or a live frog. We are so curious in that new world we eventually recognize as home. With luck, we do not lose the wonder of discovering previous unseen magic.

On a lightly traveled two-lane road on a recent afternoon, I rode the Blue Harley-Moose past a garden of virgin whites, glowing yellows and plush purples, bespeaking the goddesses they might, in other circumstances, adorn. At the end of a row I was brought to stop. Regal orange and yellow blooms sat waiting to crown the deities, calling out like sirens to a wayward sailor.

The Resident Decorator may acquire a few of those posies and add them to the loving surround of our abode. She will enjoy their company, nurture them, and draw from them the beauty they draw, in turn, from the earth.

Young collegians brighten the town the way Spring flowers brightened fields a couple months earlier. One, in a white dress, as I sat drinking coffee and conversing with a friend, stood out from the garden the way the Dahlias had beside that country road. Someone, I trust, will notice her beauty, nurture the relationship, and discover the beauty only careful cultivation can expose.

I marvel at the feeling of walking bare-legged in a mountain stream, the cold water caressing my calves and maybe, if I am brave enough to wander into an eddy pool, reaching farther up my limbs. I reach down to grab a handful, but the water just moves around me, eluding capture, and continues its path toward the ocean.

This whirling glob of mud and rock on which we ride through the heavens promises to go on, with or without us. We may become extinct, as have numerous species before us, with or without our help. It will not be the planet which causes our demise, though according to scientific prognostication, it may be announcing it.

How the story of us turns out will, I submit, have much less to do with the profits we amass from the subjugation and destruction of our surroundings than with our encouragement of children collecting mushrooms and dead frogs, and cultivation of young women, men and other flowers to enrich our path through the cosmos.

1 Comment

  1. Deep. True. Touching. Awakening. Your writing evoked imagery.

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