Well friends, we are 13 years into this restoration project and the plants are astonishing in their growth, the fireflies are flashing like never before and I cannot believe anyone thinks saving the world is not possible. The challenge is getting the Engine to Turn. How do we do this? How do we bring respect, love and compassion back into the world on a massive scale? I don't know except for one act after another, after another, after another.
Bottle Brush grass is looking splendorous and offers foliage to caterpillars, seeds to birds and mammals and beauty to all of us.
The Eight-spotted Forester moth lays her eggs on Wild Grape and Virginia Creeper...
and we find her progeny on the grape vine under the windowsill. The Land is more wild than it ever has been and we love how we feel amongst the wildness. It's like a coming home.
Young American Persimmons are growing a few female flowers and dropping them as they continue to prepare for the heavy commitment of bringing a seed to fruition.
Blue Flag Iris and Silky Dogwood shade the waters sheltering Green Frogs. The weather didn't work out for an American Toad movement again this year, but next year will be the third try and you know what they say...it's the charm.
White Avens, a native wildflower, is flowering abundantly in the part shade here, right now, on this Land. We didn't plant them, but the seeds found their way there and planted themselves. Now little sweat bees are seeking bloom after bloom after bloom and finding sustenance.
Freedom comes with letting plants grow where they want to grow and not keeping them tucked tidily into beds. Edit, sure, but let the plants feel free. Let yourself feel free. It changes everything.
We enjoy this freedom. Minnie Pearl, our elderly cat, sometimes sits on her rug outdoors with us now (NO hunting occurs). She hated the outdoors after a rough youth, but now in her maturity, she wants to feel the breath of the plants, the breath of the warm winds and the comfort of those who love her. We all can change.
And so, we do too, we change. We adapt. We pause. We are thoughtful in our response. We grow. We barely know Persimmon South, our second restoration project amongst the beloved power house of conservation work - Arc of Appalachia, but we are anxious to. We planted American Persimmons earlier this spring to start the wildlife habitat restoration of native plants. Steve found the hill top fertile soil eroded at the base of the hill and so we planted there, where nutrients and water collect. With all that feels wrong in this world, we offer our love and our efforts.
We are grateful for the others that do this too. It takes bravery, a risk or perhaps just a desire to say enough sitting on my bum, running around buying things and just get to work remembering where we came from and how we fit into this beautiful world. United Plant Savers is doing just that.
A portion of this land was strip-mined for coal...
and you can still see the coal seams in the high walls. Thanks to the strength and perseverance of humans to right these wrongs and the hanging on of nature at the edges, this area is diverse, abundant and full of life.
Amanda Horn's art reminds us of the power of seeds and the power of plants.
Plants are propagated like this Goldenseal...
and plants, like this Toadshade Trillium, grow and reproduce freely in magnificent, protected forest.
There is our optimism; there is your optimism. Even if they don't translate to hope, optimism is all we need. We can get this engine to turn. We can love one another. We can love the nonhuman life of the world. We can stop stripping the trees from the forests for bourbon oak barrels, for palm oil, for yet another field of soy and corn. We can stop pretending our chocolate is not being harvested by enslaved children or that our electricity comes without a high, high price. We can stop filling in wetlands for another lawn of mowed grass or a place to park extra cars. Let's be mindful. Let's be educated. Let's do our research before we believe what is presented to us on social media. Let's get to work. United and Strong.
We love you all! Thank you for your good work in the world.
Soundtrack: I will Find a Way by Jackie Venson