“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” Wendell Berry
The lake at my grandparent’s farm. Photo by Hiro Takase
The farm where I grew up has been sold. With four heirs squabbling over what to do with it, the family decided to sell the land.
This is bitter news for me. It was here that I learned to hunt, to slop hogs, to raise vegetables, to pick and hand tobacco. In my grandparents’ home, which sat on the highest point of that 60-acre farm, our families gathered for Christmas Eve. Beside the house stood a tall cedar decked with colored lights, back then, the largest Christmas tree in the county.
That farm was its own world of work, food supply, social life, and recreation. We swam in the lake. In the plowed earth, just after a rain, a few minutes of careful searching would reward you with an arrowhead. This is where I began my collection, as well as a fascination with ancient history. I will never forget the awe I felt when I identified the style of a perfect little arrowhead I’d found and learned it was a Kirk dating back to 7800 BC. That fascination inspired two works, Gooseberry and Aztec Midnight.
So I guess you could say the imprint of the land I grew up on will never leave me.
Mary Fahl’s Going Home pretty well expresses my hope for this lost piece of my life:
They say there’s a place where dreams have all gone
They never said where but I think I know
It’s miles through the night just over the dawn
On the road that will take me home
I know in my bones, I’ve been here before
The ground feels the same though the land’s been torn
I’ve a long way to go the stars tell me so
On this road that will take me home
Love waits for me ’round the bend, leads me endlessly on
Surely sorrows shall find their end and all our troubles will be gone
And I’ll know what I’ve lost and all that I’ve won
When the road finally takes me home