What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
Turdus migratorius is back. The small capsule she dropped before flying south lay dormant in the soil all winter, then burst with life, thrusting a verdant banner into daylight to wave at the returning robin in thankful announcement of new life. Our planet is regenerating itself.
Arts and Crafts aficionados celebrate the natural, as do down-to-earth bungalow fans. Both movements came about during a transitional age, a pioneering era for much of the world; a time when new ideas replaced established doctrine. It was also a time when growth and industry made it important for humans to create civilization out of the wilderness. Maybe we took it too far.
Now we wring our hands about the effects our ways might have on our very survival. Climate change is natural, but what about all the heat and pollution humans generate in our livelihood? What about the sustainability of our own unlimited growth in numbers? As Walt Kelly’s Pogo once proclaimed, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Awareness is key. Arts and Crafts Movement founders William Morris and John Ruskin never knew wilderness. Both were raised in a privileged, cultured, buttoned-shoe society, yet they sensed a need to return to the natural and founded a movement involving that idea, a movement that adopted the bungalow as a home.
Fortunately for us, many bungalows are in places where wilderness can still be found nearby. We need places untouched by humankind—such as they exist on our own small and pregnant capsule. Natural areas are enlightening places because they are pure authenticity. Dangers can be real, but so are the beauty, the grandeur, the astonishing wonder and genius of it all.
In the wilderness or wondering at a dainty sprout in our garden, we’re reassured by the perfection of a world made entirely without the help and wisdom of humankind.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
A special thanks to Bonnie Caylor. I asked for the name of a seed-dropping migratory bird all Americans might know and she gave me turdus migratorius: the robin.