1) Wendell Berry spoke at length about the value of what he calls “country pleasures,” like jumping in the river on a summer afternoon and walking home uphill after, experiences that are all but lost in a world where most people spend more time with screens than trees (a notion I was tempted to live tweet, but the irony was too great).
2) He decried the arrival of commodity soy and corn in his Kentucky county, comparing it to the foolishness of fracking. The only difference between fracking-enduced explosions and soy-enduced erosion, he sagely said, is speed. Erosion’s slower, but the result is the same: exhaustion of our most precious natural resources. Amen.
3) He spoke of another kind of erosion, that of community, and recalled the days when his neighbors took pride in helping one another, gratis. One farmer friend of his had, in his lifetime, helped every single farm on his road, and never accepted any payment except a shared meal when the work was done. By the end of Berry’s description, everyone in the room would have stepped into a one-way time machine.
4) In conclusion, he spoke of sharing his land with wildlife and reasoned that it is not they who should be called wild animals, as they build homes and raise their young, year after year. Rather it is the human race with our blind destruction of soil, who deserve that description.
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