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There are second chances for some of us, but even second chances bring new losses. For me, it is the grace and hope of these stories and others like them in the work of Berry and Berger that has earned them pride of place on my shelves and in my life.
Drawing from both Baldwin and Berry allows us to see that the racist and imperial policies of the past continue to do immense social, economic, cultural, and ecological damage around the globe. Racial injustice is among other things an ecological issue.
Berry wrote in one of his letters to Merton that “you are one of the few whose awareness of what I’m doing here would be of value to me.” He is acknowledging that he and Merton lead lives of similar mission, lives shaped by work and silence.
Perhaps the appealing vision of neighborliness that For the Hog Killing, 1979 presents, and the image of agricultural community that it provides, can challenge those of us who are encouraged by the book to channel our memory into the practice of hope.
Women like Tanya bring artistry and honor to everything they touch: the homes they inhabit, the land they steward, the children they raise. These photographs are testimony to the clear, sharp eye of a woman who is herself an artist—and who brings that artistic gaze to every endeavor she undertakes.
Lana Del Rey. Wendell Berry. Stephen King. Singer-songwriter. Poet-novelist-essayist farmer. Horror writer. What brings these three seemingly disparate artists together in my imagination? Hope.
Why have we persisted in peeing outdoors well after the advent of outhouses and toilets?