The lights dimmed. The introductions and announcements were said. Mr Wendell Berry walked on stage and the welcome was enthusiastic. There was no doubt that the audience in attendance was well acquainted with his writings and influence. Most of those in attendance were aged 50+ but every so often, you’d see one of us youngins sticking out among the crowd. One of the first things he said was, “With all of you here, its hard to see what you need with me!” The humility was evident and I settled into my seat to glean words from a wise old man from whom much can be learned!
He proceeded to read several of his poems and a short story. He said, “I’m gonna read a few poems… its gonna be a prose sandwich”. At several points, he paused before reading the next poem. One of those times, the audience broke out clapping. He remarked, “I wasn’t waiting for you to do that. Just interjecting a little silence.” Everyone laughed. Some of his writings were meant to evoke sadness and compassion, and other snippets brought the whole house laughing. Like our traveling companion shared, his short story (I can’t remember the titles) was about no one I knew, yet it could be anyone we know. It was a story of life, marriage, raising children, living on the farm, taking care of the land, selling the farm, grief, and letting go.
"A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales to the Future for Food Conference, Georgetown University, Washington DC"
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