The cold rain continues to drizzle on a late November morning as I search for a muse on the Kanawha River. The rain collects on the twigs and swells into large drops the drip rhythmically to the ground. Somewhere in the background I can hear the laughter of a wood-hen but the shy bird stays well away from anything that signals a human is near. A big red squirrel clings deftly to the side of a large oak. He occasionally pokes his head out from the back of the tree in way that makes me think he’s playing peek-a-boo. I turned my attention to the stump on the edge of the river and noticed the smaller tree that had sprouted from it. When I was a child there were no trees in this spot except for a few. The shore was kept clear so that you could admire the falls and hydroelectric dam. But the river was eroding the land to the point that there would be no park today. Large trucks came and heavy equipment was used to place large rocks and new sand on the banks in an effort to save the park but the river was relentless and the artificial shore was wasted away. Eventually it was decided to let nature take its course and the sandbar willows came. They put down roots that bound the rocks together and created pockets that trapped the sand and leaves along with the driftwood deposited by the floods. The sandy mix came to life with symbiotes and became soil. Soon there was more than just the willows. There’s honeysuckle bushes and vines. In the Spring violets are found all through the park. This is where I found the Spicebush Swallowtail feeding on Cardnial flowers over the summer.
God has created a complex world with checks and balances that heal the land. Everything has cycles and patterns of succession as described in the Book of Ecclesiastes ( and Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds ). When we learn to work within the systems of nature instead of against them the land flourishes and there is a bounty. But when we think that we know better and try to force nature to our will there will be failure and loss.
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