Many of us love to read books, great articles in good magazines, and perhaps less and less the news. But after years of reading I am learning how to read…yet again. There are certain topics that are difficult such as philosophy (a love of mine), and scientific books, even layman science is difficult to me. However, having recently purchased a property that I intended to make a farm, I am learning how to read again.
In the crisp, New England mornings I walk my dog through the months old snow and the half-century old forest that I own. I’ve done the walk twice a day for some time now and every day the land teaches something new. A crevice here, a creek that is burrowing a new furrow; hills and dales, and the trees: oak, birch, red and white pine, hickory, poplar.
Farmers, I think, know what they want, but few know what the land needs; only the good ones, and to know this they need to know how to read. Walking the land envisioning a field but the land won’t have it. Perhaps a fruit tree grove there, but the land has started one here. We own land, but we don’t control land.
Land seems pliable and passive, but don’t let it fool you. It is the master of its own fate. We are ego-filled and short-sighted. The land is wise and counts eons, not seconds. It is in no hurry as its age is endless. It knows that we are of it, and by it. we see land as potential, but it is full of the past.
I am learning how to read the land, and it is a difficult lesson. I am impatient and the alphabet is foreign. But the land is patience, and its alphabet it created. The words ooze out of the fog of my ignorance…slowly. But as I learn to read I realize that even the choice to learn is an illusion.