Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Welcome to the Revolution

In eleven long years, John Bergson had made but little impression on the wild land he had come to tame. It was still a wild thing that had its ugly moods; and no one knew when they were likely to come, or why. Mischance hung over it. Its Genius was unfriendly to man….
One winter his cattle had perished in a blizzard. The next summer one of his plow horses broke its leg in a prairie-dog hole and had to be shot. Another summer he lost his hogs from cholera, and a valuable stallion died from a rattlesnake bite. Time and again his crops had failed….
Willa Cather
O Pioneers!

I can’t bear to go to the marketing conference this Saturday, even though I have a free ticket. The sorts of people who will be milling about, bright eyed and eager, will tire me, brutally, at a time when I’m already too tired. They’re going to be looking for ideas on farming and homesteading, looking for exciting new marketing opportunities, and mostly, looking for a dream. I can dream no more, nor can I tolerate those who can.
The weather is dreary. It’s misty and it’s rainy and I have to wear boots at all times because I can’t get from the front door to the truck without getting covered in mud. The land in its Genius unfriendliness prevents me from wearing wingtips.

Last sunny day we had I got to tractoring and busted a sprocket on the oil pump. It’s fixed, but only after a full day of crawling around underneath it, dropping the oil pan in the rain, and peering up into its bright and promising insides.

Okay, if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s a Massey.

What to say to those eager conference participants?

Go back, while you still can. Go back to your traffic lights and your strip malls and your neat suburban lawns, and dream of the good life no more. Burn your Mother Earth News, every fucking last one of them, and read Wendell Barry no more. Dream not of dew glistening on blades of grass in the morning sunshine, nor of the moonlight reflecting on a stream at midnight. Yearn not for the lowing of cattle, the cluckle of the hen, the baaing of the sheep. Content yourself with honest toil in a cubicle. Find God in the automobile or the stop sign or the sewer.

They won’t listen. They want to churn butter and chop wood and dig themselves from twelve-foot snow drifts in mid-December. They want to can tomatoes and shoe horses and beat the dirt from their rugs with a stick.
They need conferences like this, like people need jewel-encrusted birds. It’s a service we’re providing for them, perhaps, and our genius is in being friendly to them, perhaps.

We’ll welcome them, and tell them to grow organic strawberries. They’ll build cold frames and make compost. They’ll learn to play the dulcimer.

Dream on, O pioneers, as relentlessly as the inexorable spread of late blight. Your discontent lies not in yourselves but in your surroundings. After all, tomorrow is another day.


Post a Comment

<< Home


Powered by Blogger