Saturday, October 31, 2009

When Going Back Makes Sense, Your Going Ahead

The title for today's blog comes from contemporary poet, novelist, essayist and agrarian Wendell Berry. In his essay, "A Practical Harmony" from the collection What Are People For?, Berry refers to Liberty Hyde Bailey's "...view of things that...goes back to the roots of our experience as human beings." In the opening passage of The Holy Earth, Bailey starkly points out our current condition, "So bountiful hath been the earth and so securely have we drawn from it our substance, that we have taken it all for granted as if it were only a gift, and with little care or conscious thought of the consequences of our use of it; nor have we very much considered the essential relation that we bear to it as living parts in the vast creation."

Bailey's reprimand directs us to go back and revisit our rightful heritage to the land or as he eloquently puts it our "essential relation" to the earth. Our current discourse usually has focused on the large scale damage we are doing to the earth. While it serves as a brief shocking sound bite for the media, it can leave one feeling powerless. It is a perverse guilt. The solution is simple. Planting is one step to take. Composting may be another. Walking is also a good meditation. For this week and next, reflect on how you can go back to the root of experience and essential relation with our holy earth.

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