Magazine article Anglican Journal

Epiphany and Lent in Edge Habitat

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Epiphany and Lent in Edge Habitat

Article excerpt

THE INTERPRETIVE SIGN in Thomas and Ezekiel Jobe's old meadow commanded my attention. In 1835, the Jobe family cleared for farmland part of a spit of sand and limestone that juts sharply into Lake Ontario. When the meadow was abandoned, the forest trees began to reassert themselves. The sign said: "Edge habitat."

I had been journaling and reflecting for several years about the edges we lived next to in downtown Toronto. I called them margins, and the people in them "marginalized." John V. Taylor (The Go-Between God, 2004) would say the sign on the Jobes' woods trail "nodded" to me. It had something to say to me. I stood still and read it.

Edge habitat is the biological space between two ecosystems (in this case, the Jobes' forest and meadow). Life is abundant in edge habitat; more species live there than in either of the adjacent ecosystems. Life is also precarious. Species from both systems can live in a fragile balance or find their sustenance suddenly gone as forest or cultivated colonizer takes over.

That epiphany "nod" about edge habitat gave me new eyes for the dispossessed people in our city neighbourhood. They were in a transitional space, vulnerable, yet there were possibilities for new growth and transformation. …

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