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Back To The Land

2013, Mixed Media on Hemp and Woven Cotton

90 x 13.5 Inches


—excerpts from Nature as Measure; The Selected Essays of Wes Jackson


Certainly patience is a virtue, but after eighty to a hundred centuries of a decline in our terrestrial dowry, and at a moment when the decline is at an all-time high, it almost appears as though nature has invented humans for two purposes: to return nutrients to the sea to become sedimentary rock again, and to return carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning the fossil fuel. It is ironic that our actions in the name of progress are accelerating the return of this planet to conditions similar to a few billion years ago.*


*The Religious Dimension, p.29


Was it she or the larger system, an ancient ecosystem, that prepared her for this day of winter wind: born in June, her branching pattern makes her round by fall, testimony to her ability to remember the past and foresee the coming season with each cell division. But there is more to this globular weed than her shape. For all through the summer, at the base of her stem, she formed an abscission, a knotted ring of cells for easy detachment at ground level in late fall. I don’t know whether she or the larger ecosystem was most responsible for that knotted ring, but the wind does seem a fitting hearse for a last ride to a fence–line cemetery. What other plant could beat Salsola in this respect: that it is in her death that the most energetic and widespread dispersal of her offspring could happen?*


*Old Salsola, p.118