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ideas for a new earth

  • Abigail Wilson

The Liminality of Frogs: A Love Letter to the Earth

©Abigail Wilson 2022

Tonight, I have walked down the street and crossed the tracks at that gap that must have been a road once, guarded by the broken teeth of ancient warning panels. I stepped over the still stretches of metal connecting me to the west, ducked under the power lines brought low by winter’s white weight, and now stand here, on the last ragged patch of grass.

Above me the dark still shines with that subdued twinkle you only find in the hollers, where streetlamps are a bother and the neighbors’ distant lights are as quiet as they are.

The last rays of sun burn orange on the long-armed, gaping maw guarding the muddy gates. It catches fire on that part of me that ran with the monkey wrench gang, and I wonder briefly how much sawdust I would need to stuff inside one of these bullies before they belched their last.

But this is not some big dam, or the future site of an extractive corporation. They are building homes. And you, who are our original home, can you forgive us for this? For wanting our own kind of security, for tearing apart the home we had for some new vision?

From here all I can see of the hole is an empty space beyond the near horizon, but I know that it is deep. The blasts have shaken our foundations now for a month or more. I want to close this wound of yours, but I don’t know how. My heart is heavy for all the homes that were destroyed: of rabbit and mole, of warbler and quail, of elder and goldenrod and the sheer joy of purple asters.

Some of us will say we knew not what we did, but it isn’t true. We know. Some even celebrate the slash and burn, the blast and churn. They feel safe in the sterility of their synthetic houses. My love how can you ever forgive us?

The sun splashes the last of its light across the cloud bottoms, an orange flare against the cosmic purple. I hear, tenuous yet insistent, a high note loft across the red mud. Then another, and another, and before long I am standing in a cascade of subtle sounds, low and high, short and clear, as if the turning of the globe turns also the crank of some vast invisible music box.

The spring peepers are singing.

Who are you, dear one, who can wrap such violence in the sweetest and gentlest gift? Who are you, that in the face of our steel and our roaring flames, you offer this delicate creature and completely steal the show?

The peepers may not be here next year. Theirs is an intimate, delicate existence built on a shared impulse to live, the slow striving of all creatures towards continuity. Dynamite is a stranger to this kind of dynamism. Who knows now how many connections have been severed?

Yet the frogs sing as they enter the fire. They sing their life even at the foot of death. Always you have trusted that we will come around. You show the beauty that exists just outside our harms and you trust that we will remember how you held us, and hold us still. Where we bring death you show us that life still is.

With your help, love, I can trust in us too. Wherever the stars still shine and the peepers still sing, there is hope that we, too, will remember how to live.


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