Thyme Community on Granite
from The Farming Life

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Summer mountain, magic meadow,
the mysterious weave of flowers
and grasses, and weeds,

     the hard question of what is native
     to this place, and what is not.

But does the botanist in me always have
to point his finger inwardly, tapping off

whole indices of the species of pastures
and fields like some might look for

     all the A's or B-flats in
     a symphony,

neatly sorted, counted, placed
in a row?

     If you ask him to sing the note
     of a particular plant, always,
     his pitch must be perfect.

But he'll probably never confess to you,
although he'd like to, that, the more
he seems to know, the more difficult it is to
admit freely like a child to others, that,

     this plant, the name of which seems
     to elude him, he now sees for the
     very first time.

(On the European Continent, one must venture up into the land
far above the trees, above 2000 meters or so, to enter a realm
which to this day is still entirely pristine and natural. Here we find a
place free of the confusion of false competition between largely indigenous
species—so characteristic of the lowlands—
caused by the centuries of misuse of the land.)

Knowing is from a cycle of poems called, The Farming Life. For some 12 years, I lived
and worked in a small German-speaking farming community high in the Swiss Alps.
These pieces reflect upon this experience. To see more of these poems, go to to the Picture
Week I and photograph (4) (bottom left), The Farming Life
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Thyme Community on Granite, Summer

Thyme Community on Granite, at 1600 meters, the end of June, the Alps. Rock gardens, because of
their somewhat barren, austere character, have historically simply been left alone. That is, they've never been
grazed, cultivated or used for hay. Because of this, these little island worlds of remarkably hardy plants are
frequently one of the cheerful exceptions to the above-mentioned 2000 meter natural habitat threshold.)

| go to Picture/Poems: Central Display | PicturePage: Week II |
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Photograph / Texts © 1999 Cliff Crego   All Rights Reserved 
(Last update: XII.6.2003)
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