dancing in the clarity of perfect contradiction

berry picking begins tomorrow…the bushes are heavy with fruit…as are the apples, dwarf sour cherries, and chokecherries…yesterday I removed a mile of electric fencing wire around the haskap, winding it onto a spool…it had been in place for nearly ten years….

…long-time friends stopped by a couple of days ago to ask when berry picking would start?…gentle souls in love with life…and haskap…for them picking is a love affair…how can I keep my haskap interred behind a fence?…there has been a total face lift on the character of the orchard by removing this wire!

…whether you like it or not you will never be free if you play a role that is predetermined for you…the freedom of an artist is found precisely in the choice of work and not in the choice of a role, even one that society asks one to play as ‘artist’, for reasons that social architects will always find hidden, mysterious, obtuse, and un-reasonable (thank God)…

~~~~~

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Every plant that stands in the light of the sun is a saint and an outlaw.  Every tree that brings forth blossoms without the command of people is powerful in the sight of God.  Every star that people have not counted is a world os sanity and perfection.  Every blade of grass is an angel singing in a shower of glory.

– Merton, Raids On The Unspeakable

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a huge chorus of living creatures

…salamanders are signs of ecological health…not a canary in the coal mine, warning of death, but a reptile bestowing a five-star rating of life on our orchard…yesterday we discovered that one of these had taken up residence in a pond that we had had dug in 2010…just another resident that proclaims that this is as it should be along side of…whitetail deer
…elk
…moose
…black bear
…racoon
…skunk
…martin
…mink
…weasel
…mice
…moles
…voles
…a dozen varieties of birds
(including cedar waxwings by the hundreds upon hundreds)
…frogs
…snakes
…salamanders
…and insect animals beyond my imagination
…dogs
…cats
…a cacophony of chorus-voices arising from our orchard

Mists of damp heat rise up out of the fields around the sleeping abbey. The whole valley is flooded with moonlight and I can count the southern hills beyond the watertank, and almost number the trees of the forest to the north. Now the huge chorus of living beings rises up out of the world beneath my feet: life singing in the watercourses, throbbing in the creeks and the fields and the trees, choirs of millions and millions of jumping and flying and creeping things. I lay the clock upon the belfry ledge and pray cross-legged with my back against the tower, and face the same unanswered question. Lord God of this great night: do You see the woods? Do You hear the rumor of their loneliness? Do you behold their secrecy? Do You remember their solitudes? Do You see that my soul is beginning to dissolve like wax within me?

– Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas, ‘Fire Watch’

feeding bees in february

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i never thought that i would be feeding bees in mid-february in climate zone 1b/2a…but i did…i am…

it is warm…the snow is quickly leaving…and walking in the bush all this winter is eminently possible…the bees are healthy…and very active…and i hope that by shoring up their food supply now it may give them an advantage this spring…

 

…i am still saddened by last year’s loss of three hives and leaning not a little toward overly-caring for these…but can i be blamed that i love them so?

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using a pint canning jar to feed just a wee bit at this time of year / 1:1 sugar:water @ 1 cup ea

nothing

is ever at rest.

This orchard appears permanent.  Rooted.

But it’s not.

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This mountain/hill that we snuggle back into creeps outward every year by two whole centimetres.  Did you see it move?  Last winter ice loosens and then lifts particles of dirt.  Debris.  And when the ice leaves and the earth settles these simply roll down the hill a bit more.

I’ve thought that it would be a worthwhile pursuit to sit and do nothing else but to watch this over the course of the winter some year.  Noticing something that no one else has ever really seen.

ICE-THRUST formation.  Source of wonderment.  This massive rock popped from of the understory and skidded twenty miles across this valley.  Shearing off everything.  Freezing soil and rocks and sand and clay into the plastic foot of the glacier that taunted it.  Rode it like the slowest plowhorse.  And dropped these when that mass of ice died.  Three kinds of soil on my mountainside plantation alone.  Some pelt me with rocks while others hold my feet fast.  I love every one.

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micro. meso. macro.

A totally different reality for an orchardist than for weathergeeks.  These are the holy trinity of taste.  Micro – the restricted space of a few plants or rows and the canopy of management needed to appreciate – love? – these few plants, knowing what they are like as a family, and what this can mean to, say, a cask of wine make from their berries.  Meso – the greater good of the family of plants on this hillside, which is different than your hillside, and your family of plants.  Have you noticed their distinction?  Macro – my regional disruption, which is not your regional disruption.  Broader particularities.  But still particularities.

These are things only a natural-born orchardist can know.   Can see.  Can love.  Lost on the slack-jawed, Neanderthal hyena of mass production industrial agriculture…

But fog this morning.

A blanket of water.

Swirling.

See.

I told you so…