I have so many posts sent my way for this month’s Animist Blog Carnival that I unwittingly left a couple out!
Bryan Russellson over at Black Mountain Waincraft shares this beautiful introduction to the southern Appalachian abode he calls home:
Like the comfrey and mugwort that fills the small garden bed just outside my window, we are transplants. Yet we have done much to integrate ourselves with this place. We are literally made of the land and that which fills it…of deer and bear and rabbit, raspberry and ramp, wood nettle and morel. Our shit fertilizes the garden beds nestled throughout the forest and the water flowing across the edge of our property sustains all. In time, I too shall fertilize this place as circumstance or age draws the breath from my body.
A wonderful written picture (with lovely photos as well!) of this amazing place.
So, we have an un-necessarily polarised debate, not least because the ecological-forestry discourse of woodland management (adopted uncritically by local green groups?) appears to be privileging ‘evidence based science’ at the expense of the (often well informed) feelings of local people. Personally I’d like to see them take a leaf out of the Woodland Trust’s book, and register notable trees; trees that are culturally important, or ‘of personal significance‘. In the context of advancing Ash Die Back, Richard Mabey makes a case for valuing Sycamore (‘the weed of the woods’) as a replacement for Ash trees. Now, more than ever, conservationists should be ‘welcoming outsiders’ rather than ruling non-native species out of court.
A good reason to pause and think.
And let’s revisit an older post of mine from over at No Unsacred Place, about the spirit of a place and the beings that embody it:
Arguably the more charismatic animals, plants, and places are often seen as the most irreplaceable, when in fact all are important and often it’s the tiny ones on whose backs and stems the rest of the ecosystem rests. But if we look instead at the greater concept of the numenon as Leopold uses it, rather than just the individual species chosen for it, it’s a great deal like the Genius Loci, the spirit of a place. And all of the above are representatives of what gives a place its unique qualities, the je ne sais quoi, even if we can’t put a label to those qualities themselves. These are not quantifiable in the way that bird counts and the momentum of a waterfall are. They’re exceptionally subjective; it’s arguable that those of us who value a place for what it is create its spirit, while we cannot make a land developer or oil baron see beyond the cash value of the physical natural resources. It’s an aesthetic judgement, but no less crucial for that.
My sincerest apologies to both Bryan and Brian for not getting you in on the first round; here’s to readers getting a fresh look at these!