THE MAN BORN TO FARMING: Wendell Berry
The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming, whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death yearly, and comes back rejoicing.He has seen the light lie down in the dung heap,and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.What miraculous seed has he swallowed that the enending sentence of his love flows out of his mouthlike a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water descending in the dark?…
“There is a season”, pines the author of Ecclesiastes. Some parts of the world endure the rainy and dry seasons, but I live in a land where springs unfolds finally into winter. And there is sacredness in these rhythms.
On the one hand, we learn lessons from the rhythms of our earth. The leafless branches of the winter argue to us that all is dead. I know an African man who arrived in the U.S. for the first time. It was the calm of winter. He looked around himself and “wondered if these American’s killed all their trees.” Yet, as sure as the sun rises, it also moves towards its springtime blaze. The air warms, the snow melts, and the life that is more powerful than death will work its magic. There is a lesson in the seasons about our univere.
On the other hand, I believe the seasons deeply relate with our spirits. We must follow them if we want to thrive as humans. Why is it that we spend billions of dollars making the winter streets as if it were summer? Plows, salt, pressing through the haze. Winter days with with white wind were meant for gathering in and resting. The seasons place harsh limits on our weary souls. Fall days were meant for enjoying and reverlry. Why do we pound the days away on our computers and walk across the city paths with our heads buried in the next text. Lift up your heads; this fall will never arrive again.
We do not worship the seasons or the forces they create. But we open our hearts wide to their sacred rhythms. If we are lucky, we learn to dance and sing their songs. Do not take my word for it. Take Wendell’s:
“The foliage has dropped
below the window’s grave edge,
baring the sky, the distant
hills, the branches,
the year’s greenness
gone down from the high
light where it so fairly
The country opens to the sky,
the eye purified among hard facts:
the black grid of the window,
the wood of trees branching
outward and outward
to the nervousness of twigs
buds asleep in the air”