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Seed Magic Part VI: Spellbound

“The county is going to cut the trees down on J.”

It was gossip. It was fact. It was both a question and a fear.

“Trees are dangerous. They’re too close to the road.” That’s what the county says. Except, “why can people have trees close to road in town?”

It was an observation. It was a judgment. It was both anger and sadness.

"The electrical poles are close to the road. You can just as easily crash into a pole."

Last week the county cut the trees down. I didn’t know it, not at first. I didn’t go to the gym that day so I took a different way home that afternoon.

My aunt told me the news in a text. Seeing the trees down makes me sick to my stomach. It’s awful. I may avoid that road when I can.

I started to respond. Instead, I stared at the blinking cursor. I stepped to the window and tried to find the sick, the awful. Tomorrow, I sighed. I would see it tomorrow. The rawness of emotion would hit me then.

My mind returned to the blog posts** I had written in 2020 when straight line winds attacked our tree line. It was after the county ‘cleaned up’ that the roadside was ravaged.

The next afternoon I braced myself as my car approached the would be newly bare area on my left. I continued glancing, waiting for impact. None came. Against the vast, vacantness of the fields extended away from the roadside. Everything was neat. Tidy. Alongside this already empty space, I wasn’t even sure where the trees had been cut down. Their scarceness had been so similar to the nothingness that the only proof my memory had was the stack of trunks I finally encountered.

I turn down our road where green can still hid broken. The radio disappoints. I turn it off. I speak to myself. “It’s like. . . it’s like. . .” I can hear the voices around me. Pushing against what I think I see. What is real. “It’s like. . . worrying about losing toes on an already amputated leg.” Yes. Those were famous for phantom pain.

I considered my lack of feeling, feeling over the next few days. My mind kept returning to the feeling I had when I returned to our family farm property, to our township, to the country, after living in Guatemala. My eyes could not match my father’s fascination, his enchantment with the land around us. To me it the green squares, the straight rows alongside mowed ditches were only another type of lawn. They were simply gigantic yards but no more ‘wild’ or ‘natural’ or worthy of reverence than those block by block along a city street.

The definition of spellbound is, “hold the complete attention of (someone) as though by magic”

This blog series is entitled Seed Magic. The last time I posted was about hiring conservation work, prairie restoration. After receiving an email proposal that I didn’t understand, I hadn’t contacted him again. In reality, it wasn’t only my lack of understanding, it was also lack of faith.

This week I consider the idea that for those seeds to have magic, I must believe in another type of enchantment. It is one whispered through the drops of poison spray. Illusions cast across the world in clouds of tilled earth dust.

Another spring evening falls. Dad walks the boundaries of his property. He murmurs the incantation, “Somebody’s got to keep some trees around here.” Here, if only in his eyes, the spell must hold.

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