Earth

Natural Economy

Here’s a pair of poplar flower brackets, showing us the origins of economy. If you look at the buds, you can see they come in groups of one, all dark and pointed, and yet among them are these specialized leaves, in a pair. From one comes two, but not in the sense of multiplication. There are two because they match, or are balanced.

This is ancient stuff, from the time when many of our families lived in Central Asia, yet we remember this notion of pairing, of trading or equality or recompense, in such notions as pairing, perfection, purchase, praise, precious, interpret, price and so many more. For these bracts, it is the same word, showing up in them all, as it is for the birch below.

Ultimately, there is a purchase going on here, but not in money. Rather, it is a standing-with, one body matching another or finding equivalence in it. One way to fill space is to repeat single instances of life. Grass is great at that. Another is to pair each of these single leafings-out, so that for each one there is another one. They’re both one, yet together they make something else, a pair, which is also one. These are deep mysteries. The dogwood knows them well.

We call such balance perfect, and even perfection, as if it were an assessment of quality, but it’s not that. It’s an assessment of the presence of a physically-spoken moment of one of the fundamental mysteries (or mysterious fundaments) of our planet. Often, that awe is enough.

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