This morning in the quiet after Thanksgiving week I listened to an interview with Wendell Berry and Bill Moyers. A few years ago I had the honor of interviewing Mr. Berry – who asked me to call him Wendell but somehow Mr. Berry felt right – grace extended to a graceful man. His prose are some of the most graceful I’ve ever read containing a compassion and empathy for the characters and the landscape; the land as much a force as any protagonist. Paraphrasing one of his many wisdoms he says that nature cannot survive as a monoculture –and neither can we.
My house was full all week with little children and twenty and thirty somethings, with Italian and French and English and Spanish, with meals, and naptimes and playtimes and translation overlaying translation. And it was just fine, lovely actually. Distance makes it difficult to partake in the daily caring for each other. We are scattered even as we maintain closer communication with family and friends. Whether its an hour and a half ride by car, or by plane, distance intercedes in the daily in the same way that proximity connects you to those you may not even feel connected to.
I have lived “out in the country” for over twenty years. I love the land that surrounds me; the creeks, and hollers, wooded paths and meadows but I have only lived on the land. I have never been in tune with the daily care of the land in the way a farmer is in tune. Hearing Mr. Berry speak, and reading a piece by my friend David Sharp in his weekly wanderings on Facebook, made me wonder for that kind of continuity with land, food, and work that produces what you need to live in an immediate, sustainable way.
Much in the same way that having family close by, day by day makes me aware of all that relationships entail, it makes me all the more aware of the worth of it. Thanksgiving may be past, but still much to be grateful for.
Link to the interviews (mine and Bill Moyers) with Wendell Berry
Link to David Sharp https://www.facebook.com/DavidBSharp?fref=ts