How well do you know your neighbors along your road? Not just your human neighbors, but your non-human neighbors as well? Do you notice the flora growing along the road? Are areas of your walk shaded by trees and if so, what species? Do observe a variety of creatures who cross the road? Red efts? Deer? Gray squirrels? What are the weather conditions when you notice other creatures using the road? What time of day is it? What species of birds fly above your head on your walk?
The next time you are out on your walk, open your senses to who else you are sharing space with. As you look down, perhaps it’s not just asphalt you’ll see, but a worm wriggling by or a snail navigating their long pilgrimage to the other side. Perhaps you will recognize that the green stuff growing along side the road is not just grass but also yarrow and dewberry and clover. What will you notice when you nurture a sense of place?
By Arianna Alexsandra Collins
Many mornings I walk past Pamela‘s field.
She keeps the grass thankfully unmown until deep into summer
and for that reason I have had the opportunity to watch
bobolinks, swallows, and kestrels
raise their young and hunt the sky.
Bluebirds are singing in the island of staghorn sumac
Deer wander by and turkey wade through
the sea of green and gold.
An alphabet of flowers – all-heal, bedstraw, clover white, dandelion, fleabane, hawkweed, narrowleaf plantain, ox-eye daisy, red clover, saint john’s wort, wild carrot, and yarrow
carpet the edges near the road.
Somedays the stream babbles to itself as it bubbles over the stones and under the road.
Recently, with all this summer rain, has been a torrent
rushing off to get somewhere else
pushing the water ahead of itself.
This morning the tall grass sports the gauzy decorations
of one thousand orb spiderwebs
all dewy and shimmering in the sunlight
we’ve been waiting for so long.
Copyright 2021, Arianna Alexsandra Collins
Dedicated to the beings who live along the backcountry roads of Ashfield.
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Interested to learn more about nurturing a sense of place? Visit Erica Wheeler of Sense of Place Consulting at https://senseofplaceconsulting.com/ You can also find Sense of Place Consulting on Facebook.
Arianna Alexsandra Collins, naturalist, poet, writer, wild edible enthusiast, and Wiccan High Priestess lives in Ashfield, MA.
The poem “Pamela’s Field” appeared in the August 2021 edition of The Ashfield News.
Like Hearken to Avalon on Facebook and learn more about the magical world and natural history of plants and the Faie, and human interactions with them.