Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sideoats Grama - the State Grass of Texas

This is the landscape that nobody wants. It’s my cup of rejection:
Driven to this unformed scraggly ignored backlot, this not-quite
Prairie, not-quite thicket, not even natural corner of
Texas, the hardscrabble left butt of a demoralized nation,
It is my choice and my pleasure to cherish this haphazard wilderness.
No, it’s not even “wild” – it’s a neglected product of artifice.
Come, let us walk by an improvised lakeshore, be given a vision:
Beaches of black dust, beautiful white ghosts, this drowned forest…

- Frederick Turner, Texas Eclogue, 1st stanza

Hadean Eclogues by Frederick Turner [ Story Line Press 1999]

…we [need to] abandon the dualism that sees the tree in the garden as artificial – completely fallen and unnatural – and the tree in the wilderness as natural – completely pristine and wild. Both trees in some ultimate sense are wild; both in a practical sense now depend on our management and care. We are responsible for both, even though we can claim credit for neither. Our challenge is to stop thinking of such things according to a set of bipolar moral scales in which the human and the nonhuman, the unnatural and the natural, the fallen and the unfallen, serve as our conceptual map for understanding and valuing the world. Instead, we need to embrace the full continuum of a natural landscape that is also cultural, in which the city, the suburb, the pastoral, and the wild each has its proper place, which we permit ourselves to celebrate without needlessly denigrating the others.

William Cronon, Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995.pp 88-89.

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