ah, wilderness!

I once took a wilderness and transformed it into a garden. But along the way I killed or evicted anything I didn’t want, I radically reduced the biodiversity in whole areas, by poor soil management I created tiny deserts where almost nothing grew. I practiced a kind of ethnic cleansing as I weeded, uprooting and forcibly removing many things that had long established themselves and were happy and thriving – often for no purpose but an aesthetic one. I set up borders where once there were none. I made roads – paths, that is – nothing was allowed to grow where I walked.

As I learned better how to garden, I began to let things back in that I hadn’t planted, as long as I liked the way they looked, and they didn’t compete with my colony of plants, the ones that were for my exclusive use, slaves of my need for food and beauty.

Years went by, and I could relax, now that I was in control and knew how to get what I wanted from the land. I interfered less and less. The plants that had survived my scourges were supple and forgiving. The animals were unobtrusive – they had learned to stay away, to haunt less tended spaces. The more aggressive birds chased the others away, and took advantage of the insects and seeds that were on offer when I disturbed the soil. It all seemed to be in proper equilibrium.

My garden was beautiful, and I was happy. But the wilderness was gone for good. As long as I lived, it would not return.

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