Early days for us in North Carolina, the late ’70s,
friends stopped by who had moved east to Asheville from Albuquerque.
Twenty minutes into our tour I realized they were incredulous and a little disturbed.


A way through the hay to the compost heap.

Most of our discussion had been about our arsenal of implements for felling plants:
chain saws, bush hogs, brush hooks, mowers, weed-eaters, tillers, pruning saws, loppers, and shears.


The see-through part of the big barn.

Seemed pretty reasonable to us.
We built our house and sheds with lumber cut from the woods;
we had to find the barns before we could use them;
our garden plots had to be taken back from the Johnson grass;
we couldn’t set our fruit trees without beating back the locust and sawbriar around them;
we had to get the snags out of the branch and open the old logging roads.


Down the road towards the house.

Since grass is what continues to grow after repeated close cuttings,
(grass plus a dozen tough persistent weeds)
we created pasture for our animals in the summer and hay for them in the winter
by mowing the fields, pushing the edges back to the old fence lines.


The path up to the warehouse.

Ten years of underuse, as a farmstead, ten years more of no use at all, and we found
we had acquired a wild and raggedy place. A great deal of what we had to do
was, indeed, a kind of war on plants.


The walnut row (hiding behind the first one).

More precisely, a selection for human purposes of some species over the others.


The house from above.

I asked our visitors, what was wrong, why they had stopped walking?


West side.

The answer was, in New Mexico, if you find something green
you put a fence around it and bring water.
You do not cut. Not ever.


North side.

They could see it was different here,
but they still thought we were mad.


The road in front.

Probably we were and are still. The native plants unchecked
have all the other fields and edges and woods.

We will hold on a while longer, here and there, for people purposes.

 In the temperate rain forest.