As I write this, one of my agricultural heroes, Wendell Berry is conducting a sit-in at the Governor’s office in Kentucky that they are calling Kentucky Rising. He, along with thirteen fellow Kentuckians are demanding the end to mountaintop removal mining. As Berry stated in his written statement, “…our protest is against methods of mining that are abusive. We do not oppose mining per se. Our purpose is to protect our land and water. And we most certainly bear no ill will against those who work in mines.” The problems of mountaintop removal mining are myriad, including removal of feet of topsoil, leading to flooding, erosion, mineral leaching and devastation of healthy streams and communities in Appalachia. It is a severe method of mining that supplies most of us with the power we use in our homes. For an understanding of how you are connected to mountaintop removal mining, follow this link.
But this blogpost is not a platform for activism. Instead, I would like to show my support and love to Berry and his sit-in companions – it takes courage, stamina, some grumpiness, and a lot of love for their communities and land to walk into the Governor’s office and demand a civil discourse on this issue which is near and dear to their hearts. I have long admired Berry for his articulate writings; novels, essays and poetry. He is a farmer-poet, something I fancy myself of being on occasion.
I would like to let Wendell Berry and the folks at Kentucky Rising know that on this symbolic day, I would like you to know that we love and support you for fighting the good fight and making such needed change in our world. The environment needs soldiers like yourselves, and so do we.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
An Excerpt from The Country of Marriage
By: Wendell Berry
Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.