Just walk out of the barn

Wendell Berry wisdom via the New York Times:

Then he takes me to the barn, where there are seven newborn lambs. And he says, “When you are new at sheep-raising and your ewe has a lamb, your impulse is to stay there and help it nurse and see to it and all. After a while you know that the best thing you can do is walk out of the barn.”

Thank you Mr. Berry for validating my intuition that sometimes the best way to help is to not help at all. I'm not the most skilled organism out there.

Onion, Fruit of Grace

Onion, fruit of grace,you swell in the garden hidden as the heart of God, but you are not about religion. Onion, frying into all those Os, you are a perfect poet, and you are not about that. Onion, I love you, you sleek, auburn beauty, you break my heart though I know you don't mean to make me cry.

Peeling your paper skin, I cry. Chopping you, I cry. Slicing off your wiry roots, I cry like a penitent at communion, onion. Tasting grace, layer by layer, I eat your sweet heart that burns like the Savior's. The sun crust you pull on while you're still underground,

I've peeled it. Onion, I'm eating God's tears.

Poem: "Onion, Fruit of Grace" by Julia Kasdorf from Eve's Striptease. © University of Pittsburg Press

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

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. Practice resurrection.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from The Country of Marriage, copyright © 1973 by Wendell Berry, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.