We Are Not Land Owners, We Are Custodians

We have owned our property for 6 or 7 years now and have watched it change in wonderful ways. The dead orchard has turned into meadow and is slowly giving way to forest. We have seen Monarch butterflies roosting, picked baskets of morel mushrooms and bushels of asparagus. We have started seeing unusual birds return, like the red headed woodpecker and summer taniger (which shouldn’t even be here!). We have for the first time this year seen a pair of cranes consistently land on the property. And, we are beginning to see our labor pay off with the lavender harvest getting bigger each year.

Perhaps the biggest thing we are noticing is how circular and resilient nature is. Everything has a purpose. Everything has meaning. We have owls, snakes, foxes, coyotes, porcupines and woodchucks. All living on this small property. All, a part of a much bigger whole. A system that is more than able to take care of itself without humans needing to come in and mess anything up.

Before we arrived and ‘bought’ the property they were here and long after we are gone they will still be here….unless as humans we decide otherwise. It’s not an 80 year cycle. It’s an 80,000 year cycle. An 800,000 year cycle.

Why is it that we get to decide the fate of this little ecosystem? Why is it that with a scribble on a piece of paper bulldozers can come in and build a subdivision, completely destroying the homes of the animals that were here before us? Why can we decide that today the fox needs to find another home. Sorry, we are putting in a road! Why is it that the porcupine in our tree needs to be shot because it’s messing up ‘our tree’?

The short-termism of humans is a sad but real thing. We live as part of an ecosystem. The ecosystem does not revolve around us. We need to be more mindful of everything we do, whether it’s mowing the lawn, cutting down trees, throwing out the trash. What does anything we do mean for the ecosystem? What part do I play in things? How do I live within the system that will be here long after I have gone?

We don’t own our land. We are looking after it. Not for our kids. For all kids.

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