life between the pages

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”
Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

keeping wildness



In Wildness is the preservation of the world... Our village life would stagnate if it were not for the unexplored forests and meadows which surround it. We need the tonic of wildness." --Thoreau, Walden, 1847

One doesn't normally think of Thoreau as a planner, but oh, he was. In his earnest adaptation and spiritual connection with the countryside surrounding the community in which he lived, he gave us the blueprint for interweaving the urban/suburban fabric with that of the rural. i submit here an image of the yard i had two houses ago, near greensboro, nc... it is still in a rural area, thanks to the non-availability of water & sewer service. it was a 4-acre 'old city lot,' in the downtown section of a town that was founded before the revolution. several of us kept farm animals in ancient barns and the slow timbre of life there was affected by its proximity to metropolitia only during the 5 p.m. traffic centipede that crawled down the main street, disappearing shortly after 6. to protect the habits of wildlife, it is against the law in that little burg to burn more than 160 watts of light after dark, cumulatively on any one property. Many of us used candles in the window so as to be able to view the night sky, the constellations, and the velvet blackness, virtually unchanged since the turn of the last century.

Small communities and rural towns comprise the bulk of the local community in the southern United States. Here it is a cultural reality that people live with spaces between them.... piling in cheek by jowl is anathema to us. Hence, there is an anxiety as we go forth in time that the future will be something so different that we will not recognize ourselves. What happened up North is now happening here, and none of us want to duplicate the mistakes that were made as the more populated areas of the country developed. And yet, few are willing to conserve, to protect, to eschew the monetary gain --sometimes much needed --in order to preserve the southern countryside. Those who are are usually not the ones with the land. And so it goes.... will we return to Walden a century from now and wonder what it was like, instead of going out of our own doors as we do today, and experience it?

2 comments:

Favorite Apron said...

Wouldn't it be nice to outlaw those orange mercury vapor lights.
I crave outdoors and solitude and darkness and trees. I can't spending a precious vacation on something like a cruise. Give me the forest!

Rachael said...

Hear, hear, Susan! I do hope that the wilderness and rurality of the South can be preserved because what Thoreau says is very true. Wild places are like medicine for me. I need them to feel well. One of my favorite things in the world is to go outside where there are trees and grass and blue sky and just sit or lay in the grass, watching and listening. My vacation of choice, when not going for a purpose other than relaxation, is to go someplace isolated and beautiful in Appalachia (cruises to Alaska are a lot of fun too though. You'd be surprised at the isolation you can find on a boat carrying 3000 people with the Northern Lights dancing above you). I know I'm not the only one. That was a really nice area you lived in in Summerfield and that's a great picture of the yard.