|**graphic by filmchild**|
Herbs and The Earth
"It was a pleasant fancy of the ancients that the lights of heaven, the sun and the moon, the erant planets and the military and ordered stars sang each his song as they moved in harmony upon their paths, ennobling thus the shell of space with music. Were motal ears prepared to sustain such melodies, it was thought, one might chance to hear, at cloudless noon, in a high and quiet land, a sound of the great cry of the sun, and by night and the moon another nusic not of earth brushing against earth and the blood. In this celestial harmony what song, then, sang the earth? What vast and solemn music did this our planet make as turning upon its poles it wheeled through the universal void rolling up its cities to the sun and its fields down to the night? Was the sound but the unconfused and primal voice of the planet welling forever from its cores of stone, or did a sound of rivers and many oceans, of leaves and immeasurable rain mingle to make a mysterious harmony? And might a listening god, perhaps, have heard echoes of man, the shrilling of a plough turned from earth into earth and stones, or a woman singing her dream and her content?
It is only when we are aware of the earth and of the earth as poetry that we truly live. Ages and people which sever the earth from the poetic spirit, or do not care, or stop their ears with knowledge as with dust, find their veins grown hollow and their hearts an emptiness echoing to questioning. For the earth is ever more than the earth, more than the upper and the lower field, the tree and the hill. Here is mystery banded about the forehead with green, here are gods ascending, here is benignancy and the corn in the sun, here terror and night, here life, here death, here fire, here the wave coursing in the sea. It is this earth which is the true inheritance of man, his link with his human past, the source of his religion, ritual, and song, the kingdom wihout whose splendor he lapses from his mysterious estate of man to a baser world which is without the other virtue and the other integrity of the animal. True humanity is no inherant right but an achievement; and only through the earth may we be as one with all who have been and all who are yet to be, sharers and partakers of the mystery of living, reaching to the full of human peace and the full of human joy.
Here in this pleasant arbor by the herbs, with the grape overhead, and Basil in flower in the open sun, here in this quiet varied with an early summer sound of country birds, one may well muse awhile on how the soul may possess and keep her earth inheritance. The age in which we live is curious and bewildered; it is without a truly human past and may be without a human fuutre, and so abruptly it came that one might imagine some cosmic spirit or wayward daimon to have reached down of a moment and plucked man by the hair. It has lost the earth, but found (since the comfortable century of philosophers in dressing gowns) a something which it calls "nature," and of which it speaks with enthusiasm and embalms in photographs. It has lost as well the historic sense, the poignant and poetic recognition of the long continuity of man, that sense within our hearts which is moved by a chance print in an old book of a countryman ploughing with oxen beside ruins overgrown with Fennel while to one side women clap cymbals together to calm the swarming bees.
A garden of herbs need be no larger than the shadow of a bush, yet within it, as in no other, a mood of the earth approaches and encounters the spirit of man. Beneath these ancestral leaves, these immemorial attendants of man, these servants of his magic and healers of his pain, the earth underfoot is the earth of poetry and the human spirit; in this small sun and shade flourishes a whole tradition of mankind. This flower is Athens; this tendril, Rome; a monk of the Dark Ages tended this green against the wall; with this scented leaf were kings welcomed in the morning of the world. Lovely and timeless, rooted at once in gardens and in life, the great herbs come to the gardener's hand our most noble heritage of green."
Love and Blessings,