This Thing Called Courage

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Jennifer, Juniper

There's this really lovely stand of Native Juniper (Juniperus virginiana, but most people know it by its common name, Eastern Red Cedar) growing along the Fellsway (picture at left, taken with my phone.) It's in an especially nasty area, a sliver of land between Route 28 (The Fellsway) and Route 93. As such it's noisy, always, and replete with trash (which people throw out the window) (presumably) from both highways, as well as hub caps and so forth; and, right now, piles of black gross yucky snow inundated with sand and rock salt. And yet these junipers keep on keeping on, and lend grace, beauty, and a sense of nature where it's most desperately needed. The junipers-- there are probably three or four dozen all told, of all sizes and shapes and ages-- stretch out along, say, a half mile run of the road. But they are currently facing a more serious threat than all the other aforementioneds above: orinetal bittersweet, an invasive, viney species that has rampantly grown around and around many of them, slowly chocking them to death or pulling them down. Bastards!

This cannot be borne! (As they used to say down South.) So every now and again, armed with Fionn the Dog (for moral support) and my trusty little pruner, we take a few hours and have at those cursed bittersweets. Such was the case today, and a lovely day it was for it, temps flirting near the 50 degree mark, a bright blue sky with brighter white streaming clouds, and a fresh wind from the west-- heaven, really, and the sun getting warmer by the day.

I don't know why this work feels so utterly satisfying. I really could do it all day. Perhaps it's a debt begining to be repaid. At this point I would say about half of the junipers have been freed. I've still got a ways to go, but today I really could see what a difference my help is making-- and, again, I'm not sure I've ever done more satisfying work. Funny, that.


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