By request, here is the essay read in HW’s landscape video about pride

What is this place with my name on its deed?

This place before you is my reference library, regularly con­sulted with queries about nature. It also serves as a dance floor to courtship rituals for countless species, including my own. It is a living perfumery, no doubt, and a veritable gift shop supplying bouquets, plants and seeds, teas and nibbles. It must be some kind of market, too, as it has brought forth rhubarb pies and berry jellies and State Fair first-place wines. At times, it is nothing more than a canvas for a creative mind laying traps for flattery, and thereby it becomes a match­maker of friends who began as admirers.

This landscape works as a demonstration of bioengineering as it baffles noise, prevents erosion and channels winds. It further acts as an agent of the environment as it builds soil, filters pollutants and generates oxygen.

The assessor would appraise it as a property of increasing worth. The meter-reader would record it as an energy-miser. Those who own native plant nurseries would find economic prosper­ity in a half-acre consumer.

The life scientist might regard its diverse species as a pharmacopoeia of medicinals or simply a garden resisting infestation. The patriot or historian would applaud its tribute to provenance. A wise teacher would recognize it as a classroom. Any child would see it as a
playground. An artist would perceive it as an infinite series of picturesque scenes.

The contemplative would see this as a holy place. Those who fear God would think it a veneration of His creation; those who fear mankind would see it as an act of preservation. The people of third-world countries would see a land of plenty … unsquandered.
Oddly enough, the very best definition for this wildlife habitat may be that it is our home entertainment system. The colors advance in their performance so as never to rerun a season quite the same way twice. The melodies hum, trumpet, whisper in improvisational collaboration.

From this vantage point we have beheld meteors and fossils, herons and hummingbirds, maggots and manure, hail and human tears. We have pond-soaked during July’s heat, gazing up at hundreds of yellow blooms, and cross-country skied upon December’s snow, admiring thousands of white-capped stems.

This oasis that rewards the senses and lifts the mind and comforts one’s body is all things to this family. We have envisioned the grandeur of its presettlement landscape and resusci­tated it to the best of our amateur abilities. We invite you to visit our piece of Earth and encourage you to restore the place to which you hold the deed.

[Thank you, Jane in Ohio, for making my words feel they have worth. ~ JB]

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