Waiting at the front of the line
Last year about this time my daughter, Ariana, took the bus down from New York City to come home for a night because Wendell Berry would be appearing at the Kennedy Center the next evening. We did not have tickets so we arrived early to hopefully get coveted standby tickets. We went so early we were the first ones in the line, which eventually got rather long. As it turned out, we ended up front and center, as Wendell Berry delivered the most moving personal indictment of the destruction of the American family farmer and global capitalism, before thousands of people, for the annual Jefferson Lecture. His talk was titled, “It All Turns on Affection,” our affection for one another, and our affectionate relationship with the natural world, “of which the corporate entity is incapable.” “The Corporation is a person in the law”, as Wendell says, “but it has no soul. It has no self, yet is entirely selfish, wanting nothing more than to grow and grow and grow and in this it will destroy everything that is in any manner individual.” That evening I understood why Ariana esteemed him so. He was riveting.
Naturally as soon as the lecture was over we made a beeline to the Terrace for the after party. In the midst of the crowd of people we were some of the first to spy Mr.& Mrs. Berry as they entered the hall. Darting to his side and waiting patiently Ariana was able to have a conversation with someone she has long admired. It was a wonderful evening.
Fast forward a couple of months and this happens ~ Alli gets “Best Sister” award for getting Wendell Berry to write a note and autograph one of his books for Ariana’s 22nd birthday.
One happy girl here
Awesome! Well, anyway, I remembered all that recently when I stumbled across this from Wendell Berry (in Ariana’s blog CulinAri Heart)…..
Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know. So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years.
Listen to carrion–put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go.
Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction.
On Ariana ~ raised a city girl, living in ‘the’ city, dreaming of life on a farm.