It has been ridiculously warm in Vermont this November and December- 15 to 20 degrees warmer than normal- and so with afternoons in the upper 40’s and low 50’s I haven’t been spending much time with my computer.

Part of the reason I have spent so much time in my woods is that I magically acquired 80 new acres! (Well, it was only magical if you consider it magic that I don’t know where my property boundaries are.) When one corner was properly pointed out to me I realized that I had more woods than I thought! And with that realization came the imperative that I had to explore!

What I found was an old trash dump. The entire area where I live in Vermont was once dairy farms and these farmers used to dump their unburnable trash on to a great heap in an unused part of their pastures. Turns out that in the property corner I finally found I also found an old dump full of rusty metal and all kinds of glass. The metal was everything from old car fenders and tractor parts to metal tubs and milk cans.

The glass thatI found  was mostly broken but I did find a small intact glass jar about 5″ tall with a rusty metal lid that was standing upside down (lid down) in the leaves. When I picked it I saw that the lid was pretty tightly attached, the glass was not broken or cracked and that there was something alive inside!

I held it upside down as I unscrewed the lid. Inside I found a tiny green fern growing on about a tablespoon of dirt. The fern had found the perfect trash terrarium! The only opening to the jar was a couple of pin sized holes in the lid. I guess the dirt and water needed by the fern to grow came in from those holes. It was a living fern version of a ship in a bottle.


IMG_3613Life is a pretty amazing thing- all life whether it is living in a jar in my woods, in a scorching Yellowstone hot springs or on top of a Colorado mountain. I think we forget what a magical thing life is- we breathe, we move, life is good- until some circumstance- sickness, injury, age- puts our life into an upside down jar and tosses it into a forgotten forest. That is called mortality and it is good if, like the little fern, it encourages us to thrive however we can.


In this day and age when life seems discounted and calamity is a daily occurrence let’s try to remember that all life is magical, jar or no jar.