I can feel it emerging

Imbolc and the Waiting To Cross Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Kep, struggling again. Gabe up for a Rockies afternoon game. Ruth for a night at Dazzle Jazz. Alan as Uncle Moishe in Ron Solomon’s Purim spiel. Monday night. Rich and his class. Luke and his new job. Mike and Kate coming up here sometime this month for barbecue: Campfire Grill in Evergreen. Rabbi Jamie’s ski trip. Race #1 of the new F1 season: Bahrain.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth


Reading Wes Jackson’s Becoming Native to This Place again. A radical thinker. At one point he writes about the Cartesian/Baconian advancement of science and the rational method of inquiry. Descartes says in his Discourse on Method that the more he sought to know, the more he realized he had  yet to know. Jackson makes this wry and insightful comment: “This statement would have been all right if he had stopped there. Unfortunately. Rather than regarding informed ignorance as the human condition, and the appropriate result of a good education, Descartes believed our ignorance to be correctable.”

Jackson identifies this hubris of the scientific method as a root source of many of our current maladies. We believe we can extract the parts from the whole, understand them without regard to it, then act on that information. Turns out though if you do not understand, say, the nature of ancient energy and privilege it over contemporary energy sources like wind, solar, photosynthesis, you can do great harm to the whole. Change the climate, for example.

He believes science and humility need to work together. In the instance of agriculture he tells the story of a man in Nebraska who developed seeds and sold them. But only to  farmers in his region. His seeds had characteristics that made them strong in that regional ecology. A local seed source rather than the abstracted seeds sold by Monsanto, Bayer. They did not need Roundup ready alterations because they already knew the soil and the other plants that grew there.

What Jackson wants to create is a new rural life, a new localism predicated not on Cargill or Monsanto or John Deere, but upon perennial crops and a system of trade that could hook up a small Kansas town with a small North Dakota town, one that grew crops better suited for that local ecology. A new localism in which both flora and fauna were appropriate to their location, yet benefited all through trade without gigantic corporations in the way.

This vision. A hard one. Only thing harder, probably? Continuing on the soil and region destroying path we are on.

I’m beginning to see linkages between the Jackson’s and Wendell Berry’s and the fracturing nation in which we live. How their vision for a local agriculture, the base after all of civilization itself might contribute to a new politics. How the breakdown of the country might have a positive outcome. Especially when connected to the old neighborhood politics I know so well from my working days. And when bonded with the actions necessary to tip the climate change scales away from apocalyptic scenarios.

There could be a path here. Needs more noodling, but I can feel it emerging.