The Beauty of a Land Laid Bare

Five thousand years ago this valley was clothed head to foot with Scots pine, birch, rowan, aspen, juniper, and oak. Osprey and golden eagles flew above its canopy. The forest floor was home to moose, wild boar, lynx and elk that grazed on its emerald moss-green carpet, full with fallen fruit, nuts, lichen and fungi. Its rivers teamed with fish, and beavers built their dams. Since that time humans have stripped and grazed their sheep upon this land until the valley was laid bare.

I see far into the distant dappled light. There is no doubting the beauty of this naked place. Its highs and lows, its hug of cloud to earth. In admiring its form I all too easily forget how abundant with life this place once was. 1% of the native forests that covered this land remain here. Perhaps my primal need for shelter is the source of feeling both wonder and uncertainty.

A tree sheds its seed. I pick it up, take it home, I plant it in a pot, water it, care for it, guard it. I watch it grow, slowly, beautifully. In time, I find somewhere for the sapling to thrive - it feels good to search for such a place. Countless living things will settle and flourish from this easy effort.