One of the delights of our rainy afternoon a few days back was sitting by an open window, listening to the pitter on the uninsulated tin porch roof, and to Wendell Berry. ( The Unsettling of America, The Memory of Old Jack and many essays, much poetry.)-- KZYX was playing an archived City Arts and Lectures conversation with him from several years ago. The drip of water from my unguttered roof was pleasant background to Berry’s highly polished, rural and verbal, Southern styling: “the small communities I’ve been part of are remarkably tolerant of people’s behavior they don’t approve of” and fishhook rhythm: “Nobody should become a farmer from a sense of duty. They’ll regret it . . . and so will we” and sly warning to salesmen of all stripes: “There’s still a lot of people who do mind-numbing work whose minds are not numbed.” Berry left out the despairing adverb, not yet numbed. That adverb’s left to urban comics when they’re tossing us a hopeful bone.
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