Wild Like Flowers, Chapter 6: To Be Freedom
"To be Freedom means to be perched, knowing that you have wings."
This is Chapter 6 of my second book, Wild Like Flowers: The Restoration of Relationship Through Regeneration. You can buy the book here. Or, you can read it here.
Be as a bird
perched on a frail branch
That she feels bending beneath her,
still she sings away all the same, Knowing she has wings.
Robert Frost argued that freedom was boldness, and this story is about the surprising audacity of life itself. Valentine’s Day came and went without any fair or added emotion. Life in the Wildland is a continual feast between the lovers and the loved, and a day to celebrate the dailiness of abundance has always felt unnecessary. The day passed and the next one arrived, as days do, and our lives moved on with it. Our cattle and sheep flerd—herd of cattle mixed with a flock of sheep—were grazing a large and neglected tract of land that was grown over with bramble and bracket. Perhaps it was originally neglected so that a shrubland would emerge. That is the thing about neglect and emergence, you know—they often go hand in hand.
Farms tend to focus on singularity—grasslands or forests or forest-grasslands—and have forgotten altogether about the role of the intermediate stages of succession: the shrublands. In succession’s absence, a clean, easy-to-manage, and mineral-deficient environment ensues, and clean, easy-to-manage, and mineral-deficient livestock results. This should not surprise us, but it does—and that is not surprising. Even regenerative agriculture seeks to reduce environments down into manageable structures. Life may occupy open niches, but we farmers have lost the rich understory—briars, shrubs, canes, and woody-perennials that pack a powerful phytochemical punch in a world devoid of nutritional umph. Shrublands are rich, and they are richly annoying, and this story is an argument for and against them.