– An anecdote about our nettles –
My father once wrote a story about nettles. He read it to me when I was very young and I always wanted to hear it again. A mysterious story about a man who fought with nettles; a lonely homesteader who tried to clear his land of nettles and mowed them down in relentless battles only to see them come back again and again. It was a story full of strange music: fields of tall nettles swaying in the wind – a huge army of soldiers, their armors softly clattering in the wind – the hissing sound of the man’s scythe mowing them down in wide swinging arcs. At first he was full of hate and anger, then, over a lifetime, the never-ending battle became a sacred ritual, a dance, a wonderful symphony – that’s how I remember it: as soft, magnificent music – a man dancing with nettles.
(My father died before I was mature enough to really talk about this with him)
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Lingering in Happiness
by Mary Oliver
After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground.
Where it will disappear – but not of course to vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;
and soon so many small stones, buried for thousands of years,
will feel themselves being touched.
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Klaus May 26. 2007