Friday, April 11, 2014


The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.
- Tennessee Williams

I used to work in downtown Boston, all bricks, stone, concrete and glass. The view out my 7th floor office window was more bricks, stone, concrete and glass, and yes a bridge and the sky and if I craned my neck...Boston Harbor. What seemed like the same old starlings hung out on the fire escape just outside my window. One day I looked out at the very moment a hawk flew down and grabbed a bird and in a flurry of feet and feathers, off they went, bird and prey. This scene of course happens daily but the urban setting somehow drew a big line for me around 'nature' as opposed to man's constructed city. It was a poetic reminder that nature is surprising and beautiful and strong and trumps anything we might fancy as solid or permanent. Last week in Middle Georgia, nature was kicking up a storm when it crashed a branch down upon the already crumbling roof of the Equipment Shed; so much for our solid man-made structures! The need for a super emergency rescue kicked up a rush to action. A volunteer crew of men and women with modern machines has stepped forward and will be lifting and moving the fallen structure to save what's beneath the branches and the roof and the tumbles of plows, and rakes, tools and machines. We will move what is within to safe housing so it can be documented and sorted through and eventually brought back out to inform the visitor experience here at the farm. My own experience here is unfolding. While still cold and the snakes were nestled down, I spent considerable time exploring all the structures on the property. Some newly restored and awaiting programming, some already taken by nature, some in process, and some with a glimmer of vitality that can be revived. On my day off yesterday, I took a two hour ramble to learn more about the landscape. I saw lizards and chipmunks and birds of course. I saw the confident tracks of a huge tom turkey (possibly the same one seen preening and posing in the early mornings as I drive in) and the quiet tracks of a stealth bobcat, paw prints soft and gentle in the mud. Still, I was mindful of snakes (we are home to rattlesnakes and copperheads and lovely rat snakes and such) and I imagined the creatures, after seeing the human tracks, being mindful as well. When I got to one of the highest points and looked out above the trees, I saw a hawk swooping and dipping and thought " I love this place!" and reveled in the counterpoint memory of nature unfolding on the fire escape in the dense city center.

- Elizabeth Wylie, Executive Director
The Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Foundation

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