Archive for September, 2012

For all who labor in the fields and factories, Happy Labor Day.

And thank you, especially, for all thankless work you do from the back-breaking labor in fields, to the stacking in the stores, and in our factories and oil patches and all the other intensive labor fields, so that I and all of us can be so blessed with food and clothing and shelter and fuel and all the other essentials that you, the laborers, make possible. And also to those slugging away on this holiday in the hospitals, the police cruisers and ambulances . . . and all who make America possible.

“The horses graze the winter slope
and then go to the high ground
and stand, watching the traffic
along the road, the slow river,
the trees leaning and straightening
in the wind.”
From a poem by Wendell Berry, the one American writer that I wish everyone should read.

Wendell Berry is one of the few people left in the U.S. I would ever vote for, for any office.

In fact, he may be the only person.

But of course, as I’ve said here at your favorite blawg before, a truth teller like Berry–a man of such intellectual honesty, political independence and of true and deep spirituality, as opposed to the divisive, hack religion that our politicians shove down our throats, could never be elected so much as a county commissioner in a country now owned by special interest groups–and especially by giant corporate interests, from the local level to the White House.

Not that a man like Berry, who refuses to so much as own a computer because of a principled stand against a coal mining behemoth, would even consider selling out to the greedmongers who’ve taken over our blessed country.

Click here for a fresh interview with Berry in the NY Times.

And click here to read his quite readable and magnificent 2012 Jefferson Lecture. It’s something that I wish that every American would read–and take to heart.

If you don’t read his great lecture piece I hope you’ll at least give some of this great American’s poetry a slow read–and a few minutes of reflective thought.

“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 unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
Like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
Descending in the dark?
As soon as I felt a necessity to learn about the non-human world,
I wished to learn about it in a hurry.
And then I began to learn perhaps
the most important lesson that nature had to teach me:
that I could not learn about her in a hurry.
The most important learning, that of experience,
can be neither summoned nor sought out.
The most worthy knowledge
cannot be acquired by what is known as study–
though that is necessary, and has its use.
It comes in its own good time
and in its own way to the man who will go where it lives,
and wait, and be ready,
and watch.
Hurry is beside the point, useless, an obstruction.
The thing is to be attentively present.
To sit and wait is as important as to move.
Patience is as valuable as industry.
What is to be known is
always there.
When it reveals itself to you, or when you come upon it,
it is by chance.
The only condition is your being there and being
“The Peace of Wild Things”

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
“The Watchers”

The horses graze the winter slope

and then go to the high ground

and stand, watching the traffic

along the road, the slow river,

the trees leaning and straightening

in the wind. The day’s time

is their time. They do not move

toward it or away. Their minds

are at home in this world,

diminished by no question.

*Photo by yours truly– the blogger’s favorite horse here in San Jose Succotz Village, Belize.

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