“Manifesto” is my favorite poem, and it’s a pleasant coincidence that I’m keeping it in my pocket today because there are a couple lines in the poem that seem especially appropriate for this occasion. Berry writes: “Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. …// Put your faith in the two inches of humus / that will build under the trees / every thousand years.”
To me these lines are about taking the long view, about the importance of resisting the tyranny of the urgent over the important. They also make me think about what it means to do “good work.” Planting sequoias means starting good work we won’t see the end of. It means doing that good work with fidelity, humility, discipline, and even a kind of reverence, judging our work not by the goals of the quick profit or unrestrained growth, but by the standards of flourishing.