When we are born, we are introduced to this world bare naked, with nothing to our name except the love of our parent(s). As we precede through our destinies, we begin to gather to ourselves that which will define us in many ways; our property, our belongings, our habits, our beliefs, our acts of service, as well as our selfish depredations, and our personalities which will help to shape our histories; those histories being constructed of the memories of those who knew us throughout our lives but especially in those final years.
With more time on my hands these past weeks than I am used to, thanks to my back injury and unresolved leg pain, I have been basking in this place I have called home now for more than a decade, this odd acre of sand that has come to be known as Pendragon Hold. I have had a love/hate relationship with this place; bemoaning it's location so deep in the hot, humid South, surrounded by your typical redneck average (for Florida) Bubbas, with a foundation of ancient sea bed white sand that on it's own will not support the growth of what many humans would take as a given, such as edible food crops and well-behaved grasses. No, the ugliest weeds and shrubbery known to Man spent millennia evolving to eke out an existence in this nutrient-poor soil, and the heat will challenge anything else that dares to venture it's roots into this stuff. Yes, you would think, driving around these verdant upper-class suburbs with their elegant, deep green golf courses and rich, thick lawns that this is a paradise for anything green, but you would be dead wrong. Just peer into the undergrowth of the pine forests that line the highways and byways of Florida and you will see the TRUE champions of overcoming adversity, such as palmetto bushes with their evil spikes, and all those other heat and drought tolerant "weeds" that have never found a home in the average American landscape. No, my friends, none of this PRETTY stuff, the fine grasses, boxwood shrubs, exotic trees and flowers, would not exist sans the TONS of artificial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides which is dumped on them in this war on the natural world. AND, of course, the results of all this is reflected in the increasing number of algae blooms in our rivers, the contamination of our water tables with an increasing variety of chemicals and drugs, and the red tides which come and go leaving our beaches buried in mounds of dead fish. I have NEVER allowed any of this stuff on my property, sticking with whatever organic and natural compliment I could come up with, but, I have neighbors, neighbors who are busy living the American dream, which does not tolerate anything less than a "fine-trimmed lawn". All this also requires a lot of water, water being drawn out of the aquifer, which is not being replaced at any where near the rate it is being depleted. How long do you think this can last?
So, I do my best, as a committed Wiccan, to respect this acre of sand I have been given the privilege to steward, trying my best not to poison her, or make it a space unwelcome to the wildlife that hans't already been driven away or killed in the road.
It's not easy, especially when the results are all to obvious. I have no lawn, only the vestiges of what can grow here without being watered or fertilized. Yes, we do have a shade garden and a terrace garden, but we use fish emulsion or goat poop for fertilizer and we do not use any pesticides EVER. Maybe some soap solution or some mail-order biological controls, but never the poison. We even resort to pots for many of our outdoor plants simply because we can plant them into quality potting soil that way instead of endlessly having to amend the sand they would otherwise struggle in. We still have a lot to learn about doing things totally organic, but the results are so much more satisfying in the end.
But aside from what we have gathered onto ourselves here on this acre, I sometimes sit and ponder the fate of all that once WE have moved on and left this to the next stewards of this land. I could take it for granted that we will leave this place to offspring, but in this uncertain day and age, that is not a given. But, even though it might lay fallow for some years when we have moved on, it WILL eventually find new inhabitants, and I wonder, will the castle have succumbed to age by then and be torn down, to be replaced by some new fancy McMansion when the value of this property has gotten so much higher due to human density? And will they bend this acre to their will with fresh assaults of fertilizers and herbicides, perhaps having to rely on newly installed water lines due to a compromised water table? Will the sacred circle, our shade garden, not fit into their "decorator" scheme and the four sisters (the four oak trees which occupy North, East, South, and West) taken down and hauled away to landfill? What will this place look like when the sea levels have risen and the shoreline is 20 miles closer to this redoubt than it is now?
One can only wonder.
But I do have this one true hope. I hope that those who come after us gather unto THEMSELVES all these good things we have wrapped ourselves with here, and if they have to change it's name, that the name will know honor, and that in the embrace of that honor, protect it's "stewards" as this place has protected us, The Lord and Lady of this peaceful acre of sand we call Pendragon Hold.
To all my neighbors, far and wide........Blessed be.