Friday, June 01, 2007

A Little Bit of Land

Written by: Jennie Senrud Hutton
A little bit of land is all I ask, Just a small place to call my own,Where I can put down roots so deep So deep,That great-grandchildren still will Call it home.Is it so much to ask? A lane of trees,Bringing birdsong and covered leaves,Sweet lilacs holding in their arms,The lawn. Tulips and yellow daffodil,Spattered up and down the cellar hill,Sweet gurgling brook, fresh and cool,The brush beyondSheltering grouse and sage,And shy sweet deer.Oh aching heart, hungry hungry soul.What little bit to make a gratefulWhole.Is there no spot in all this universe/A little valley, with a cabin home,A bit of garden I can call my own,I would not bruise the land, or tearIt apart,But keep it beating with a happyBlooming heart.Each bit of soil, which God hadSurely blessed,Would be a cozy home for seeds toRest,And grow and nourish, comfortingAll men,With fruit and shade, and food forEvery soul.A little bit of land, to call my own,Within its small confines, a lovingHome,And fertile soilNo matter the toil,I would so grateful beIf God would take a little chance onMeAnd give me a small plot of lonelySodThat needs a gentle hand, and God.

This is my dream. I am not a traveler, one to wander place to place to take in the sights each has to offer. I am a settler, a homesteader. I am like a tree who wants to put down roots and reach for the sky. I want to live on the land, to watch it grow and change with the seasons. I want to know it like the palm of my hand, its wrinkles, its faults, its life, its soil, the plants and animals that call it home. I want to see my land in the spring, when the first trees bud out and the crocus pokes through the snow. I want to plant the first peas and lettuces of the year and watch them grow. I want to see it in the summer, in those long hazy days when all is still but the buzzing of the bees. I want to watch the apples swell on the trees and the crops ripen in the fields. I want to know it in the fall, when the harvest is coming in the leaves are changing, when the nights are chill with the first hint of frost. When the first apple of the year comes in and I taste its sweet bite, when the pumpkins are carved for the fest, and when the harvest is celebrated with gusto. I want to know the land in the winter, when the air turns chill and the birds leave for the season.
When lambs are born in the spring I want to be there with the ewe, the first human to welcome them into the world. And when, many years later, the Goddess takes them to be by Her side, I want to be with them then. I want to watch foals frolicking in the pasture, and see them grow into strong, gentle horses. I want to milk the cows in the morning and bring them in from the pasture in the evening. I want to curse the chickens for eating my lettuce sprouts yet again. I want to see children playing in the fields, growing up free and strong. I want to hold them close when they are young and let them go when the time comes. I want to heal the land, to renew it, to enrich it. The Earth has been hurt so much that in many places She cries, and I want to help those places to Sing again. This is what and who I am. This is not an easy dream I have; this is a hard life I have set. But a good life.
And how will I know if I succeed in this? How will I know if my efforts are not in vain? For no money or wealth, no gold or jewels or acclaim do I seek to pile up as evidence of my success. No, I will not know until I am old and gray and in the twilight of my own life. If then, I go to plant a tree and my children and grandchildren are around me, learning, knowing how to steward the land and the reasons for it, then I will have succeeded. I shall not live to sit under the shade of that tree. I shall not live to see it blossom or taste its fruit. I shall not be there to watch the young propose to their sweethearts under the rain of its blossoms in spring; nor will I be there when it declines, and becomes fuel for the fire and fine furniture. But they will be. And that is how I will know if I am a success in life.

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