The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.
Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads: How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?
If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
It is therapy for me to touch the soil every day. I tell that to people who are suffering. Go touch the soil. Eat some of the food that’s not grown with chemicals. You will feel better.
[My father] talked and contrived endlessly to the effect that I should understand the land, not as a commodity, an inert fact to be taken for granted, but as an ultimate value, enduring and alive, useful and beautiful and mysterious and formidable and comforting, beneficent and terribly demanding, worthy of the best of a man’s attention and care. . . . [H]e insisted that I learn to do the hand labor that the land required, knowing — and saying again and again — that the ability to do such work is the source of a confidence and an independence of character that can come no other way, not by money, not by education.
For all-around, everyday, all-season wear, farmers can’t be beat. They are inclined to chafe under the burden of leisure (a minor vexation on the farm), but they thrive on neglect and adversity.
A garden is so much like a church. So much care and feeding. Such competitiveness among the plants — some of them literally choke each other to death if you don’t get out there and put a stop to it. The big gorgeous ones get lots of attention, but then one comes along that looks almost dead all season and suddenly, almost overnight, blooms splendidly forth. Never write anybody off completely. You just don’t know.
A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.
The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil.
When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.
Nature poets can’t walk across the backyard without tripping over an epiphany.
Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce pray.
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home, and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point.
At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough.