Nothing is Wrong in the World

earth-intelligence

How surely gravity’s law
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward
the heart of the world.
Each thing—
each stone, blossom, child—
is held in place.
If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Written by R.M. Rilke (ca. 1900), I found this poem along Sligo Creek, a tributary of the Anacostia River and Chesapeake Bay. I laid awake most of last night as I often do these days. I was thinking all kinds of, what’s the word, profound thoughts but I think this poem sums the gist of them up perfectly although I could add something foreboding at the end. It turns out the writer and I have Hungarian roots in common but like most Americans, my roots are from many places.

I’m really too tired to explore the topic of earth’s intelligence. All I know is it’s smarter than all our human brains combined and indescribably powerful. No matter how we try, we can’t beat it. How did we evolve to even want to?

Yesterday was way too warm for February but I guess this is the new norm. Tomorrow will be cold again. I was happy to get out and do some puttering around in the garden. My turquoise blue sweatshirt clashing violently with the brown of winter. We filled plastic bowls with water for the birds and put a corn cob on the contraption (a board with a nail through it) my dad made to feed the squirrels. They come, usually starting with one then followed by more. It’s funny to watch them as each takes a turn carefully biting the kernel from the cob, then holding it in its paws to snack on. Each time we come near, they run into the wood pile and watch for us to pass. The squirrels are messy eaters and the pieces they leave are just the right size for white throated sparrows and a cardinal who wait impatiently nearby.

One of the squirrels we call stub tail for obvious reasons. We think she’s a she because I saw her gathering leaves and figured only females would make a nest. I could be wrong but I’m too lazy to Google it. My husband likes to joke about her being overweight which is probably just an illusion due to her shortened tail but I tell him corn is probably squirrel junk food. “She’s an American squirrel”, we sing to the tune of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song American Girl.

Yes, life in my garden is good on this warm day. Good in an eerie, foreboding kind of way. Or maybe that’s just the Eastern European roots in me. The ones I can’t quite put down in the earth no matter how hard I try.

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