Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Map of an Ungotten Estate

Medicinal Self-Heal plants in my 2011 early spring garden**


The Telling That Changes Everything XVII.
April 15, 2012 

Sometimes we have to be very patient indeed before we can speak our truth. 
–The Telling That Changes Everything I.

Among the heirs of art, as at the division of the promised land, each has to win his portion by hard fighting: the bestowal is after the manner of prophecy, and is title without possession.  To carry the map of an ungotten estate in your pocket is a poor sort of copyhold.  And in fancy to cast his shoe over Edom [Palestine] is little warrant that a man shall ever set the sole of his foot on an acre of his own over there...

The most obstinate beliefs that mortals entertain about themselves are such as they have no evidence for beyond a constant, spontaneous pulsing of their self-satisfaction–as it were a hidden seed of madness, a confidence that they can move the world without precise notion of standing-place or lever.
–Daniel Deronda, George Eliot, p. 213.

You see, the ecstasy the true self experiences is outside time, and it’s contagious.
–The Telling That Changes Everything II. 

Like an Old Testament prophet, I see visions.
Because spring arrived so recklessly early,
in March, no rain mid-April gives me a 
queasy feeling.  How coax seedlings to
fuller life in hot, dry conditions?  If spring
weather makes growing food more difficult, 
what will summer bring?  I water, weed, 
protect from sudden cold.  The same spring
heralds my book five months early.  Farther
out are the skeptics, the small-minded
critics, but near me are people who want 
to be close, know me better through my
book, and even when I teach a chicken
workshop.  What is it I give these readers
and students?  Validation for their human
longings, their desire to live as close as
I do to the world of creatures and plants,
both wild and tamed?  It’s not a passive 
life.  The natural world is very active
and inexplicable.  Why suddenly does
nitrogen-producing clover spring up 
everywhere about this place, or a large
patch of purple flowers that look like
harebells arise from a familiar weed?  
Then there’s the grass I’ve never seen
which has taken over part of the orchard.
I have in my pocket, like George Eliot
did, “the map of an ungotten estate.”  
It makes me both strange and beloved.  It 
gives me sight of trouble brewing like the
ominous black sky that precedes tornadoes,
leaves its path of destruction but no rain.
How does one human being help hold back
the woes of desolation and dismay that
descend, despite our best efforts?  By belief
that the More in our human nature’s still 
there, will always be there if we stay 
attuned to that deeper, wiser chord we
have the ears to hear, the vision to 
recognize and obey; that leads us into our 
own imagined promised land either 
before or after we die.


** Self-heal is a natural astringent, antiseptic, antiviral, and antibiotic.  As a tea, it relieves colds, sore throats, allergies, with no dangerous side-effects.  Can also be used on cuts, wounds, hemorrhoids, and herpes.
Chinese medicine used it in Han Dynasty, 206 BC-AD 23.  In the West it was used to heal inside and outside wounds, called Woundwort and Heal All.

1 comment:

  1. I can always count on your blogs to be filled with wisdom, Judy. They always make me think about what is important in life. Thank you.