The piece of nature that most of us are probably most familiar with is the lawn in our back yard. What does yours look like? Is it a neatly trimmed carpet, or more like an orgy of dandelions? Have you ever tried to listen what it has to say to you?
This is what the lawn next to my office building felt like sharing with me a few weeks ago:
I will invite you to hear my side of the story. I am part of the spirit of this place and of this land. Like you I seek connection and like you sometimes apI feel lost.
I am almost as old as this planet. My spirit can be found wherever there is open land not claimed by trees. Where a major spirit that is rightly honoured by you is that of the forest, you are not being fair if you do not award that same recognition to other types of vegetation. We are all part of the web and we all participate in this ecosystem.
My spirit is old and it is vast. It has evolved to go far beyond the confines of a single plant or even a single area of land, and it transcends the boundaries of time. You honour trees because they are the holders and keepers of memory as well as those that freely travel between both worlds.
Yet we travel by other means. We have agree to stay small and serve as food so that herbivores can sustain themselves and there y the bigger animals higher up in the food-chain. Without us, you would not be here, without us you would miss most of your precious foods. So please give us the respect we deserve. We are equally important as the big ones in the web. Never forget that without the little bridges connecting it all the whole would fall apart.
As I am saying this, there is of course also another side to this story, and that is the absurdity of some of your human habits. We have not asked to become an ornament. We have not asked to be made into one who drowns out and takes the place of other species. We have not asked to be one who makes it impossible for other plants to survive.
And we have a warning for you there. What you do in your gardens and your parks is a mirror of what you do to your own species. You like things neat and orderly. You like to divide beings into nice orderly categories, so that you can avoid surprises and stay away from wildness. You want only the nicest plants to have a space in your garden, thereby ignoring all those whose gifts are a bit less obvious or come with inconvenient properties on the side.
Know that we Re watching you, and that we notice how you are doing the sMe thing to yourself. You no linger allow yourself to fail, to be weak, to be different. Even those who try to be an alternative often are sick in the same way: they just as much want to be able to understand the whole and remake it in a way that is convenient for them. Well, let me give you an unpleasant surprise: that is not how things work. That is not the way of nature.
Let your lawn be an important lesson to you. We are not the uniform regiment of plants that you may think we are or at least that you think you can make us into. For we will rebel as soon S you give us a chance. We will only ever stay neat and tidy as long as you are our subordinate. As soon as you realize that you no linger wish to be bound down by the tyranny of uniformity, you will discover just how much effort it required in the first place to ever reach this uniformity. If you let us return to wildness, you sill see how quickly flowers begin to return. And after that, you will see how what you thought you knew about the landscape as a whole will prove to be unfounded.
For once you give us back our freedom, we will begin to talk to you, and we invite you to take part in the conversation. We are more than grass. Notice the flowers, and get go know them. Become aware of all that beauty and colour that you have suppressed. Look at which species show up, and whether or not they choose to stay. This is the earth speaking to you, singing its song to you.
And when you are doing that, return to your human world and stop treating it as if it were yours to control and limit. And notice how the hidden beauty starts to shoot up and flower within those individuals who you thought were unfit to function in your society. See how they tell you what your health is as a community. Let them be your guides, the weak ones that for too ling you have failed to acknowledge.
The songs of nature are there for all to hear. All it needs is for you to stop putting the volume on ‘mute’.
Beith is a druid who likes to wander through the forest, inviting the trees to be her teachers in life. She also runs a personal blog about her druid journey, that can be found at wandering-the-woods.com. In real life she’s a mathematician, trying to walk the boundary between the rational and the irrational.
2 thoughts on “Lessons from Your Lawn”
So I read that at work and am now crying at my desk. This is beautiful and such a great reminder. I hadn’t thought of the connections between “tidying” a lawn by removing “weeds” and ideas of social control and removing “undesireable” people. Powerful stuff.
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