Tuesday, November 27

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry

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.

Thursday, November 15

Snow Day Wishes, or Grounding for Adults

I have been wishing for a snow day. I know it can't happen. I know it is not time yet. But I have been wishing for a snow day. I even dreamed that it had snowed and I got to wear my favorite, favorite wellies!!!!

I know that non-teachers don't get snow days. I'm sorry. Some people just pick the right career, that's all... :-)

It has dawned on me what it is about snow days that are so different. Why do I wish for a snow day right before Thanksgiving Break? Unscheduled time is coming... what's my deal, anyway?

The beautiful thing about a snow day is that you are 1. already ready for whatever else was going to come that day, but 2. you are required to stay home. Not only do you not go into work, no one else can impose an obligation on your time (besides the folks at the house).

A friend said it well just this week, "My house is yelling at me." And it is. Because of my parents' divorce, the detrius of years is sitting in boxes all around. I am thankful to my parents for not throwing away my memories. On the other hand, it is just a painful reminder. I don't know what to do with this stuff, logistically or emotionally. The other factor in the disarray is that I'm just not home. When I get home, I collapse. I feel (and am) obligated to many, many things that keep me away from home.

Whatever the reasons (or excuses), my house is yelling at me. My soul is yelling at me to stay home. So I will declare Saturday a snow day. In punitive terms, I am grounding myself to my house until at least a few boxes are cleared away, cried through, organized.

I will make myself create peace in the midst of chaos. 

Maybe then, my soul will quit feeling itchy. Maybe I will stop dreaming of snow. Whatever the case, I will have made a conscious choice to face the fears that are in my boxes. And the fact that I made the choice for peace (in both my physical and soul's reality) is worth more than a snow day.

Wednesday, November 14


by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.   

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