Skip to main content

. . . and St. Wendell too.

Local cultures and economies, forest communities, small shares of private land, and health--these are the themes explored by Wendell Berry in the latest book of his that I have devoured. Six relatively short essays only add to the imperative that Western culture has some serious problems with it. That fact is not news (nor even literature ala E. Pound) but Berry's solutions could be considered a new antithesis to the G.O.D. complex of our political masters (that's Grow Or Die).

I suppose one could say that Farmer Wendell says nothing here that he hasn't already said. But wisdom doesn't come in a vaccination i.e. one shot of it doesn't keep you for life, instead one needs a regular dosage of wisdom to truly be at home in our skins and on the earth. So, Berry will keep writing until enough of us get the message and do something about it.

A couple of excerpts (note I've posted a couple of different quotes from this book earlier in "What Hath Economics to Do with the Environment?"):
There are . . . two laws that we had better take to be absolute.
The first is that as we cannot exempt ourselves
from living in this world, then if we wish to live, we cannot
exempt ourselves from using the world. Even the most scrupulous
vegetarians must use the world--that is they must kill creatures, substitute
one species for another, and eat food that would otherwise be eaten by other
creatures. . . . The second law is that if we want
to continue living, we cannot exempt use from care.

And again in the same essay " The Conservation of Nature and the Preservation of Humanity"

There is simply nothing in Creation that does not matter.
If you haven't read Wendell Berry yet, I honestly don't know what to tell you other than Wisdom is calling in the marketplace, can't you hear her?


Anonymous said…
Scot, finally read my first Berry book: Life is a Miracle. Fantastic! Looking forward to reading more.
Scot said…
It has taken me this long to figure out who the heck DDH was. Initials are not enough, Mr. Hayes! For your next assignment read "The Unsettling of America."
Anonymous said…
My library doesn't have it. You'll have to loan it to me.
Mr. Hayes (DDH)

Popular posts from this blog

Dirty Hands Can Save You from Hell

"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

     All people respond to beauty in some way or another--even those who have willingly or unwi…

Worth Quoting

"...[K]eep in mind that a human being is not made for the processing of data, but for wisdom; not for the utilitarian satisfaction of appetite, but for love; not for the domination of nature, but for participation in it; not for the autonomy of an isolated self, but for communion." --Anthony Esolen,  Foreword to Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott.

PESD? Post-Election Stress Disorder

As I write this, the presidential election is still undecided. Which is fine. The Republicans have campaigned for 17 months now...there ought to be a law against that!
When I wake up tomorrow morning, we will have a new President-elect, and frankly I don't care who it is because both the major party candidates nauseated me.
I voted for a small third-party that I was actually excited about, that I believe(d) in, and may try to get involved at the local level at some point. That was important to me--voting for something, rather than against.

If tomorrow morning you wake up in agony at the thought of our new president, ignore it. Better yet, put that energy into your community. Fill blessing bags for the homeless to carry in your car. Go to a parks commission meeting. Tutor a struggling student. Learn the names of the trees in your neighborhood. Know your watershed. Help a neighbor rake leaves. Learn your neighbor's names! Join a civic group. Buy some coffee for the teachers in …