By: EarlB, 2:07 AM GMT on May 28, 2008
In the late 60's, I read a "how-to" book written by M.G. Kains named
"Five Acres and Independence". The book gave many a city dweller not only
instruction, but also hope for something more than the Levittown-dream,
the concept of the book is: your future can be modeled after the past.
The book outlined in detail everything needed to cut loose from dependency
on "the system" minimizing the connection to the one-stop-shopping-for-
everything mentality. It was a recipe for self-sufficiency. Even though the book
was originally published in 1935, it epitomized "the 60's", revealing the finer
points of heading "back to the earth", effectively teaching a reader how
to retie that complicated knot to Mother Earth's apron strings. All that was
needed was five acres of farmland, and lots of hard work.
I never imagined in 1968 that I would attain that dream of five acres, let
alone that that dream would be mine in modest over-abundance. As if written by
Nostradamus rather than Kains, chapters foretold my fledgling orchard, and a
too-large (unless you ask the too abundant deer) vegetable garden. I live on
an ark sailing for eden.
I don't live in a city, not even a town. I have to drive fifty miles to
the nearest civilization that any city might provide and to the cheek-by-jowl
housing tracts. My nearest neighbor lives a half mile from me on the other
side of a small stream that runs through a quarter-mile-wide salt marsh prong.
This summer I will have the additional privacy that twenty-eight acres of seven-
foot tall corn will provide. So today, as I watch the little corn spirals unfurl,
I think of the day when in their maturity they will give me separation, give
me independence, as I unfurl in my own little spiral.
Updated: 6:58 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
By: EarlB, 1:16 AM GMT on May 13, 2008
When I was adding a garage onto my first home, I was working alongside
of the carpenter, doing the rote labor of measure, measure, cut, nail...
measure, measure, cut, nail, hammering the hours away. I made
conversation as you might, commenting on the quality of some of the
lumber. I remember mumbling about a "dog-leg" framing stud when the
carpenter passed along some wisdom that I haven't forgotten to this day:
"Only a tree is a perfect piece of wood!", he said.
It may be simplistic, it may be debatable, but despite all of the
"may be"'s I think it stuck with me because it's inherently true.
If you stand amidst trees, you know your frailties, standing with these
giants all pointing in the direction we look to pray. All anchored to
this earth like we are, many already anchored here longer than we will be,
they will see us born, see us die, and they will stand witness to all our
It is interesting that we think nothing of cutting down these god-temples
to build our pagan temples to pride and vanity. It's interesting that
the living temples will outlast those we've built. It's interesting
that the living temples will outlast us all. Bury me beneath a living tree
so that my atoms can infuse toward the sky, so that I can live closer to
god than I might ever have hoped to, so that I may live on forever and
never have to say goodbye.
Updated: 1:18 AM GMT on May 13, 2008