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September 2017, vol 13 no 3

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Mary Frederick Ahearn

One Morning

It's just a small field, not dedicated to agriculture or play, and not in the way of anything or anyone. Only a few would venture near enough to pay it any attention. Its inhabitants are the wild ones – tribes of songbirds, butterflies, moths, groundhogs, rabbits, and insects. Left to itself, the field hosts early Dandelions, Heal-All, Wild Mustard, and Moth Mullein. Purple Thistle, Queen Anne's Lace, Yarrow and Chicory echo the sky in the fullness of summer, with Jewelweed, Butter 'n Eggs, Milkweed, and Evening Primrose in August. Pokeweed with its white clustered buds that turn to wine colored berries in the Autumn grow along its borders.

Or would have if the little field had been left alone. One morning I find it mowed down to stubble, forlorn, deserted. No goldfinches search among the thistle's fluff, no butterflies dance. This refuge, a sanctuary, destroyed in the turning of a day. Honeybees will find nothing here today. Flower seeds, rich in oils that would give nourishment to songbirds, gone. The Queen Anne's Lace, its drying petals that form a nest, torn away – no ladybug will sleep within its bowl this Winter. The nectar deep within the flowers now dried up on withered stems is wasted.

But surely, some of the seeds and sturdy underground tubers and roots live on. Next Spring, after the snow and rain, they will show their life once again. This is what we hope for, nature's grace, her forgiveness. Her healing is ours.

field guides
that we used to read
well-thumbed, dog-eared
the merry folk names for flowers
no one seems to know today