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Forest For Thought

Mountains are living bodies of air, earth, water,

Powered by the sun,

water moves through all parts,

much as blood does in our bodies

earth with all its rocks, are bones and tendons and flesh that

grow  the woods I dig in.

These mountains have intricate eco-systems that make others wealthy even as those living here, mourn the loss of the ridges, hollows, woods, water that make a mountain, are no longer present, gone because of mining processes. Mountains have given their lives, their bodies, to build an industry that is too big to continue it’s operations of the past 50 years.

I know that when you take the mountains apart for 3 parts of it’s body, more is destroyed  than gained. it is part of my history daily and many other communities have the same lived experience in Central Appalachia.

The Clearfork Valley historically was hunting grounds and sacred spaces for Native American tribes, while early Americans settled in with farming before coal, gas and oil were discovered and exploited.

We have artist, music and religion to ground us as community and offer insights to our way of life even as institutionalized / industrialized religions offer to “give us something to make up for our losses”

Yarden in the Summertime

Living at the bottom of the ridge, in the cove space, the dirt I work with in my yarden (inter-planting food and beauty, as a whole) is sandy, rocky, with mixes of what has grown and died on the mountain above this bottom cove. The trees on the rise of the ridge are mixed hardwoods and evergreens. Part of the woods are “mature age growth” with “edge forest” starting in open areas, riparian buffer growth, for the creek below, are all present to learn from. The ridge is thin soil with lots of sandstone and limestone rocks to hold things in place. Coarse’ the rocks seem to have contributed their base to the dirt in my yarden.  This dirt created by the past hundreds of years of weather and movement, as well as the rotting or composting of the trees, plants, animals along with their droppings and housing needs across the years.  All this has come to rest in the cove where I live. Some stays and some travels on when the creek that boundaries about half of the 28 acres I live on floods seasonally.  The flooding taking some, leaving some behind, some of what the creek picked up further up another hollow.

I plowed the old field 3 summers ago to begin my yarden, the dirt seems like an old creek bed gone dry. Lots of small creek rocks that holds the sandy loam in place. The water shed level is close to the surface. Walking and planting this light, airy, soil encourages lots of hands-on and small tools interactions. Can’t get rid of too many of the rocks, they hold the dirt in place and water for roots to tap. Coarse’ sandy loam holds footprints, telling me that it packs down, sometimes that’s good and sometimes not, just depends on your perspective and interactions with the land.

Yardening, created with inter-planting food, wild and tame, flowers, herbs, seasonings for the body and soul.  This lets me add to the soil mix even as I and others thrive by what is there today. I learned about perma-culture practice and find that the process adds to the dirt for tomorrow and next seasons even as I learn about the connections to life cycles other than human ones.

One thing about digging in this bottomland type of dirt, fingernails are manicured by the work if you don’t have gloves on.

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