Monday, August 2, 2010

A narrow fellow . . . on the flower

Sunday morning I found this baby snake curled around a zinnia in the front yard. (Jeremy took the picture.) I was reminded of the Emily Dickinson poem, although this encounter seemed a bit more benign.

Rock City and Wendell Berry

A few weeks ago, we went back to DeSoto State Park near Fort Payne, AL, having gone there last spring and thoroughly enjoying the canyons and trails. This year there weren't as many waterfalls or flowers since it was later in the year, but it was still relaxing. We stayed there and took a day trip to Chattanooga (less than an hour away) to visit the Tennessee Aquarium and Rock City. Naomi loved Rock City. Although I will admit parts of it were a bit kitschy, it was a beautiful stroll. We went early in the morning to avoid crowds, and it was raining lightly for much of the trip, but that just made things seem more ethereal. Along the trails there were signs displaying quotations from various naturalists and conservationists, among them Wendell Berry (although they spelled his name wrong): "We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent questions of the time: how much is enough?" Indeed, our culture is much more focused on excess than on limits. Growing a garden forces us to concentrate on simple questions: how much do I really need? How much is too much for me to handle? What if we asked these questions about everything? I think our society would look very different.