At all hours of the day and night in the Mannon house, you’ll find butter in its designated dish on the dinner table and cornmeal in the fridge. I hold strong beliefs about these two points of culinary geography.
J. R. R. Tolkien imagined a society characterized by people who care for one another and their natural spaces, cultivating human and ecological flourishing in their communities.
I interrupted his weed-pulling to gently rebuke him for perceived carelessness regarding his health, but like the mother of Christ, I was the one needing correction—for Pastor was simply “about his Father’s business.” As if to act out our philosophy, he was a “good shepherd,” and I an “honoring” daughter. Perhaps we both would live long on the land and finish our heroes journey, our pilgrim’s progress, at the “lighted inn.”
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.
Our trees are unlikely to make a measurable difference in global carbon dioxide levels, and they will not do anything to hasten the end of the coronavirus pandemic, but according to Wendell Berry, these facts have nothing to do whatsoever with whether or not our decision to plant trees is, as Kerstin declared, good.