In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More tiny spring: island ferns and mosses

Now is the time to observe the emergence of ferns and mosses that cover the island in bewildering array. Identification will be a multi-year project. The first spring they overwhelmed me and I could only look at them out of the corner of my eye. The second spring I was recovering from my swoon and started to sit up and take notice, but still couldn't figure out how to make any order out of such profligacy, such variety. Now, after two years here, I have settled myself enough to recall that I have a camera and can at least make some record of what I see, so that later -- next winter, say --I can work on identifying them.  
Why should I want to make any order, you may wonder. Why not just wander around and enjoy the sights? I think knowledge helps in recognition. And recognition -- some sense of who this particular Other is, in all its particularity -- helps me be more empathic.  Some knowledge -- even a little --helps me see each creature and plant and rock and cloud and star more clearly, appreciate it more for what it is. 
Sedges and rushes, for instance. They are everywhere in the bog below our house and along the path to the shore. I didn't especially notice or like them until I learned something about them. And now I have realized that they are beautiful in their own way. 

I did not understand how narrow and rigid was my approach to beauty until I came to the island. Here it is constantly confronted and softened and expanded. It's a little like the process of giving birth: maybe -- I hope -- the birth of a wider, more sympathetic view.  
So as I try to learn about them, learn their names and their characteristics, even if it's only a sketchy amount of knowledge, it's a way of entering into a relationship, a way of honouring them. And a way of touching the holy, however slightly. 

No comments: