Moving Past The Moment

January 29, 2022


Perhaps it’s part of the human condition. This need to be reminded that we are not in control. We are not in charge. But apparently I needed another message about that.

As Dennis and I have consider options for what will happen with our beloved MossTerra when we die, we are determined that we don’t want this magnificent forest clear cut. We’ve lived with and stewarded this ecosystem for 45 years and would like it to stay whole, vibrant, and flourishing. So we started looking into the complex and tangled web of easements and land trusts. 

A forester came out yesterday for a couple of hours. Mark’s a nice guy and amazingly knowledgeable. He was very complimentary about our care and stewardship. But he wasn’t giving us clear answers about how to prevent the trees from being harvested. We didn’t get a clear answer, but in fact we did. Creating any legal restriction is going to be a long and expensive process with no guarantees. 

After Mark left, Dennis and I sat on the front porch. What are we doing? We are trying to control something over which we really have no control. The future. At this point we could hear the universe laughing. I was reminded of that saying about making God laugh by making a plan. What if we just turned our energy to setting an intention that the right people will show up? People who hold conservation in their hearts and spirits, not in a legal document. Trust the universe.

After our front porch conversation, Dennis wandered up to his office, opened his email, and this Margaret Atwood poem, The Moment, was sitting there.

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this, 

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe. 

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

Could not be a more clear reminder. In fact we have always known that we didn’t find this land, it found us. We’ve always considered ourselves stewards not owners. There is no reason to change that now. Now we just move through this delusional moment.


8 thoughts on “Moving Past The Moment

  1. Important point you make here Judith. (But I do hope at the appropriate time the land will find another steward who will bestow love and care…)

  2. No wonder you have been on my mind! It was always the other way round… Indeed! We feel the same. Loving you two from afar!

  3. What strong, risky, faithful affirmation! I’ve tended to think that if there is a king or queen, it is not us and the job of all of us in the realm is that of steward. But you live this with your land and with your lives. Amazing and so admirable.

    • Thank you Christopher for your insights. It’s been interesting, in this ongoing conversation, to come to a place of knowing that our sense of stewardship and responsibility to this land is stronger than the sense of leaving a heritage to our family. That was powerful.

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