Books in Progress

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinback — I started reading this upon the recommendation of a friend who told me in a recent letter… “Read Chapter 19 of The Grapes of Wrath.” I took her advise and haven’t stopped reading this book since. I read part of it when I was much younger but didn’t get much out of it then. Today, though it is something different. Maybe I can understand better what is to be attached to land yet dispossesed. I don’t think I understood that pain when I was younger.
  • The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural by Wendell Berry — The first essay on his visit to the Andean potato farmers of Peru is glorious in its exquisite attention to detail. Berry truly loves the land and the farmers he meets. You can tell he really is present where he is at, that he knows where he is in the universe. I think that knowing where you are is the most important thing of all.

    Berry’s way of noticing the world reminds me that there are two things that I yearn to during my life, maybe more than anything else. First, I want to know a piece of land. I want to know it inimately, to understand, to love it, to care for it, to be connected to it, to die and be buried in it. And secondly I want to someday love a woman with that same kind of intimacy which I know sounds goofy (comparing loving land to a woman) but it’s not because I think a piece of land and a woman are a lot alike. Both are unique and special. Both have their moments when they drive you so crazy you think you’ll go nuts, yet with both you know that you’ll only go nuts if you and your beloved are a part for good. Most of all both teach you new things every day. Love may not be as exciting as young romance but it is something that grows and continues. I suspect its the same way, be it love for a plot of land or love for a woman.

    I gotta say that I’ll know for sure that the good Lord loves me,when he gives me piece of land and a woman to love forever. If I can have those those two things, I’ll have it made.