To nurture small-scale local agriculture is to oppose the Maoist, Stalinesque, Hitlerian, Huxlian, Schwabian, Gatesian push to monopolize global food production. My cows plod the Underground. And I plod along with them.
We can increase the aesthetic appeal of our neighborhood by smashing the suburban quasi-monocultures of landscaping plants purchased from big box stores and restoring the rightful biodiversity of our ecosystems...Behind the natural beauty there thrums a glory ancient and ever-new that generates love for place, if we let it.
I’d always wondered what woodland flowers had to do with morels and fishing. I’d also marveled about how robins knew when to return north or questioned why certain mayfly imitations work better than others during the opening weekend of trout season. What did one have to do with the other?
My infrequent episodes of bringing death to animals have always taken an emotional toll on me. Making a weekly trip to the slaughterhouse for over a decade, as Comis did, seems bound to leave a mark. Can such a wound be redeemed or is the purpose of this pain to dissuade us from the actions that bring it about?
If only I had the patience of trees; if only I let time inch me, push me, stretch me ever upward, defying gravity’s pull. My demand for instant responses mocks the good work of time. Trees chasten my fleeting desires that dart hither and thither by slowly pressing, intentionally pushing, and inevitably plodding upward.
While in my current brief stint in D.C., I am often given a puzzled look when I tell someone that I am going back to the farm: “You’ve made it to D.C., haven’t you? Why would you go back?” I’m going back because the farm and all it means are more important than anything I can do or want to do here. It is more meaningful to go to a place that has claims on you, for that is where you can best serve and live the good life.
Poetry is the creative ordering of words to bring forth the fruits of the human heart and intellect. The poet is called to lose himself, so to speak, in listening to inspiration, a power that is classically understood to be beyond him. Similarly, the farmer is called to lose himself in the rhythms of the land he cares for, emptying himself, heart and mind, into the land.
Human stories, centered around human persons in pursuit of wisdom, are the roots from which communities grow. We can be sure, by the sweat on the brows of each person in the McGinley family, that this connection between the land and community is no mere metaphor.