On a slow summer day I take a look at the various email alerts that arrive concerning “Wendell Berry.” There’s nothing too noteworthy or profound. But just to acknowledge a fairly steady level of WB mentions online, I offer these four bits of text.
The first is by Tom Louderback via Leo Weekly:
I’m confused by this because Mr. Berry’s difficulty with UK concerned not Ayn Rand but Kentucky coal interests and the naming of a student residence Wildcat Coal Lodge. And it was "necessary," since Mr. Berry did remove his papers from UK, and he eventually presented them to the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, KY.
The next clipping is from Joanne Mallon:
And this is a straight-forward note about an upcoming reading group's focus on Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. This could be a pretty strenuous text for a group, but then a communal reading might provide an excellent range of alternate responses to Mr. Berry's ideas. Always a good thing.
The third alert led me to an article by Win Bassett:
I recommend this piece for its appreciation of a father's commitment to an idea of local community that can be understood as the best form of patriotism. Many of our fathers (and certainly mothers) have modeled just such a local focus for their children's eventual enlightenment. I know mine did.
And finally, here's a snippet from Wobbly Cart Farm:
Mr. Berry is most widely scattered across the internet by a multitude of "quotable bits." He doesn't write (or think) in "bumper stickers" or soundbites, but rich aphorisms lurk in almost every essay and many poems. This thought on soil is perfectly paired with the contents of a CSA box. And the farmers note:
We certainly farm in a manner that is respectful to our soil by not tilling and plowing when the soil is too wet or too dry, cover cropping with rye, vetch and clover in winter and buckwheat in summer where ever there is barren ground, and then incorporating those cover crops back into the soil to add nutrients and organic matter that we may remove by growing crops.
Such are the messages that come to me daily via email alerts. It does strike me that they (these notes and mentions and uses of Mr. Berry's ideas) have increased dramatically since I began this online project many years ago. And that is a good thing.