Reflecting on Moral Choosing in Wendell Berry's Hannah Coulter
Happy Birthday, Mr. Wendell Berry!

Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder reviewed

As the book, and the correspondence develop, this chosen designation of being “distant neighbors” becomes more layered, nuanced, and profound. Throughout these many letters, the Biblical admonition to “love thy neighbor” takes shape as the friendship grows from its nascent foundation of shared principles and cultural aspirations to evolve into a lived expression of Romans 15:2, “Each of us must consider his neighbor and think what is for his good and what will build up the common life.”  Both men are deeply invested in the value of community and share an understanding of the spiritual foundations that must ground its formation and evolution. In the earliest stages of their relationship, there is admiration and growing consensus in terms of their ideals, with increasing attention paid to the ways they might find to share the work and create more opportunities to visit each other in their respective homes; both are eager to explore the other’s local environment and to share insights about farming and land use; letters frequently offer an ongoing phenology–some news of the weather and local environmental conditions—there are shared concerns about an expected drought, a hard winter or a late, wet spring that delays planting.

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