The Grove: Who Are We; Where Have We Come From; Where Are We Going?

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Blackberry bramble springing up right next to our chives.

There are places all over our front yard and gardens where wild blackberry bushes spring up each year.  The Blackberry, if left untouched, would form a bramble that would cover the front of our house in just a couple of years. That would make picking fresh berries so easy but make it a painful mess to go in and out of our house–as wild blackberries have the most unforgiving thorns.  I would say that the Blackberry is invasive except that I am clear that it was here long before we were and long before our house and subdivision were here.  This Blackberry bramble has been living here for centuries and some thirty years ago, human beings carved a neighborhood out of the Wild that the Blackberries remind me of.

They are not the only reminders that our human life as we know it is carved out of the Wild Divine.  A few years ago, I bought three pots of a particular wildflower known as IMG_2641Southern Primrose or “Buttercups” as we called them growing up.  They remained in the three spots I planted them just one year.  Now, they come up everywhere, as if they own the place.  They are WILD flowers, after all, and it is their nature (I now know) to spread to and enjoy the most unlikely of places.

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One of many sculptures appearing on the campus of Parkview High School these days. Used with permission.

During the last two weeks of school, some of the art classes have been gracing the campus with sculptures.  They appear in all kinds of places, some inside in display areas, but many outside in unexpected places.  Each of these sculptures has been made entirely out of found things in nature–mostly twigs, but also bark and pine cones, vines and pine straw.  They are in each of their own ways a reminder that human beings take the stuff of the Wild and we domesticate it, to express ourselves, to take care of our needs and to make life more comfortable.  Most of us would not know how to survive in the actual wild for more than a few hours.  We depend on our domesticated things–housing, roadways, electricity, heating and air, running water and sewage systems, to name a few– in order to survive and be healthy.  And yet, we can over do the domestication.  We, too, like the Blackberry and Primrose, can become so invasive into the Wild that we damage it and, as now, even threaten our own existence because of the harm we do to the Wild.

The Grove calls us to a sacred balance of things.  It stands between the Wild and the Domestic.  Remember where we came from.  All that we are and have were carved out of the Wild.  The Wild is our mother and father. When we harm them, we harm ourselves. Remember who we are, children of the Wild seeking our way in the world.  As we live in this world knowing that there is a sacred reciprocity between the domestic lives we live and the Wild from which we form it, where are we going?  How do I, you, we guide that journey?

Bob Patrick

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