The Healing Soil
Somewhere in the vast forgotten, there is rich black dirt that invites bare feet.
It also beckons seeds from every wind and those that insects may carry.
If our eyes could follow the hypocotyl to the embryonic shoot,
we would witness the complex unfolding of desire.
To break into the clear wash of sunlight,
is to continue growth that has become delayed.
Here, in this unvarnished landscape,
in this untouched,
cascade of green,
the healing of seasonal division does commence.
And once more we find the forgotten part of ourselves.
It is enough to walk here, and to breath the fragrant mirth of the landscape.
It is enough to observe the sky reflected in every droplet.
It is enough to stand with eyes closed, then to be filled with the overlapping chorus of existence.
It is enough just to be here,
isolated but not alone,
tamped down but not defeated,
quiet but not silenced.
It is enough to observe within one's self, the transition to another place.
For this is the place where a powerful hunger climbs with healing vines along the trunks of ancient trees.
Vines that weave layer upon layer, transcending the distance of incalculable eons.
We cannot go on as a people if we do not think that we can.
A forest does not repeatedly come back from winter’s long dormant reign if there is no WILL to do so.
Yet, this WILL is unlike any other.
It is a WILL that is not born of logic, nor does it have a specific place of origin.
It is a desire for that which simply IS, without fear, hesitation or want of outcome.
It is the extension of green veins supporting the minute cellular bridging that overcomes every limit.
It is the spiraling majesty of mitochondrial DNA that is common to all living forms.
It is that thing which couples life to itself, enabling membranes, tissues and all other living structures to surpass tomorrow.
Here, in this wild forgotten place we become exceedingly more human.
Here, in this infinity of motion we are pushed out of that which we were, into that which we are at this instant.
Here, in this quiet forest, one is healed beyond description and concept,
for the fabrication of division has now crumbled back into this black, rich, healing, soil.
Here, I look down to find a lone sprout heralding the glory of all living things,
as it pushes ever upward between my two bare feet.
Inspired by an afternoon at Fernwood Botanical Gardens. Buchanan, Michigan.
— Writing and photography by Joseph Maas
All photography on this page was taken at Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Northwestern Michigan.