Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Buckthorn and The Squill

These are squill, Siberian squill, wood squill, Scilla siberica in the woods. My father in law loved them, and no doubt had many on his old, family property. These escaped from the perennial garden planted in the driveway roundabout and were likely pushed to this spot by a misguided snowplow. They're lovely in spring, and they spread. It's hard to know how to treat them. Is our woods pure? Absolutely not, so why remove something so pleasing to our eyes. To some degree I accept this quandary as part of who we are. How, then, do I pick and choose which "invasion" to sustain and which to eradicate? What is nature? I do not believe it is a world without humanity, but then I do believe that we can be terribly short-sighted.

We have to accept that we are the Earth's most active agent of change and  that we are not in control. Things get out of hand, we lose interest, we cannot manage every outcome. Amid the chaos, there are lovely things and terrible things, there is squill and there is buckthorn. We disparage the buckthorn and admire the squill, while doing little about either or choosing one over the other because it charms us. This weakness keeps us interesting. We despise buckthorn because it is so bland, so visually unpalatable, as much or more than for its aggressive growth. Then, we justify time consuming, expensive, aggressive eradication with ennobling gestures toward native purity.

The radical streak in Nature abhors a museum. We are nature. The way we change the land is nature while we are here, and for some years after. We are the buckthorn and the squill amongst the oaks and the orchids.

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If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...