Tuesday, April 15, 2008


In his book Return to Warden's Grove: Science, Desire, and Lives of Sparrows, Christopher Norment talks about ecotones. In biology these are known as the transition zones between two communities where the species from each community co-exist. In effect they are verge areas, like transition between between states of awareness; becoming aware after a night's sleep.

Spring is akin to an ecotone; a transition between states that sees the remnants of winter leaving and the emergence of new life taking its place within our inner and outer landscapes. There is an anticipation, an excitement and even anxiety in the what the changes will mean. We are jolted into a transition that is ripe with possibilities of anything. Norment quotes part of a poem that captures this feeling nicely and I have reproduced it here in its entirety.

I go among trees and sit still.

All my stirring becomes quiet

around me like circles on water.

My tasks lie in their places

where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes

and lives a while in my sight.

What it fears in me leaves me,

and the fear of me leaves it.

It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.

I live for a while in its sight.

What I fear in it leaves it,

and the fear of it leaves me.

It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,

mute in my consternations,

I hear my song at last,

and I sing it. As we sing,

the day turns, the trees move.

-Wendell Berry

No comments: