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May 3, 2019

from Still Point Arts Quarterly, essay by Alistair Herbert

US Forest Service, 2009 WC PD
When you sign up to plant trees because you think this place is owed something more of your life, or because of flash floods, or for any other combination of reasons, sometimes you only get blisters and bee stings and a word of thanks. Sometimes you get a new friend. Sometimes you get butterflies, sometimes lukewarm soup. Sometimes you come home and, a day later, understand suddenly how you ought to live. Sometimes you only pull a deer guard into the sun and watch as ants scurry, water falls, spiders scatter, slugs slip, young moss tumbles over your knees. And sometimes, in the smallest of spaces, you get a new view of a new universe — seven thousand times. The transaction is impossibly uneven — it always was. And the dirt of it, because there is always dirt, will probably stick under your fingers for a long time to come.

— Alistair Herbert, "The Deer Guard: Planting Trees and Discovering New Worlds in the Upper Calder Valley," Still Point Arts Quarterly, Summer 2019.

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