Once, as we walked through tall grass there, my friend said quietly, “Look what I’ve got.” He had almost stepped on a new fawn hiding there. All these things say to me, “You are welcome to share this piece of paradise but, remember, you are only borrowing it, it is our birthright. We, the wild things, were given it long before you were born. Make sure we can keep it long after you are dead.”
I am a senior citizen now (yuk). I realize I cannot be this land’s guardian forever. Time moves on and someone else will be its owner. It would be wonderful if the new owner was able to keep it completely wild and use it only for light grazing—and appreciating.
While looking for a list of flora and fauna I had once begun for the land, I came, instead, to this observation I had written around 1990 before the land was even available to buy:
I walked in the piece of wasteland across the road this evening. It’s a worthless quarter section, barely able to support the dozen horses that pasture there. There are no fields, few open meadows.
Nothing grows there—except for meadow rue, yarrow, wild honeysuckle, bunchberry, cinquefoil, northern bedstraw, lungwort, dew berry, purple vetch, water crowfoot, roses, mushrooms, toadstools, willows, alder, Dutch clover, prairie lilies, Indian paintbrushes, a few dozen centenarian spruce trees, and some ancient poplars that hold the sky in their topmost branches. One ancient pair, a spruce and a black poplar, seem to grow from the same root, their bases grown inseparably into one another, but separating above to become two distinct individuals, tall, strong, and distinctive, each to its own race.
Nobody lives on this land. I didn’t meet a soul on my walk—except for a red-winged blackbird, a goldeneye duck, a beaver so tame he swam almost to my feet as I sat watching him work, a wet and slinky muskrat, a sleek and athletic frog, and a whole backwater full of huge pond snails—if I get lost I will have escargot for breakfast.
That was as far as that record of my observations went. Obviously, I thought the land anything but worthless and the list of living things barely touches on the plethora of life abounding there. I would hope to see this abundance preserved in perpetuity.