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September 16th 2010    Tim Candler

    Could be the Cotswold's outside today.  Those hills in the English countryside that begin to border Wales.  Little towns with names like Chipping Norton, Stow-on-the-Wold and Cirencester.  And this because there is a grey sky, a little rain and a quality to the greens that soothe.

     But look closely and that sense is gone.  There is no sandstone structure, no Cathedral.  Instead in the south field there are Wild Turkey feeding.   There are ticks the size Walnuts.  And there is something in the trees that suggest an abundance of wilderness.   A place where Harriers, Hawks and Robin Hood could still lurk.

   When Cirencester was occupied by Roman Legionnaires two thousand years ago, the land upon which I now live here in Kentucky probably had seen the occasional person.  They would have come for Beech Nuts and Pawpaw and they would have trapped fish in the river below us.

     Then, sixteen hundred years ago, when the Legions left Cirencester, Dark Ages brought blight upon books and scholarship, and all those things that turn us toward ourselves so that we might think we live settled and orderly and civilized.   In the "Dark Ages" looking out was frightening to the imagination of people who had accustomed themselves to a particular pattern of being.  They saw chaos in the unfamiliar and they drew circles where straight lines might once have been.

    I wonder how it was for Ancestors who once hunted Beech Nuts, Hickory and fish.  I wonder what their imagination saw when they looked out.   Did they hunt witches, execute outsiders and paint their faces to chase away devils.  Or were they secure and confident, like Dodoes.

 

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