The Little Big Things

“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”
―     Wendell Berry


It is satisfying when the big things, disguised as little things, bring me joy. My daughter Sabrina and I found ourselves in a little town called Union today. We were on a mission to find Union Feed Inc. to purchase organic chicken feed. As Sabrina was reading me the directions off Map Quest and we made our only turn onto Jefferson Street, I began taking in the newness of the countryside and feeling a bit like I was somewhere far away. We passed big white farm houses and open spaces before I began stretching my neck to get a quick look at downtown Union. It’s old main street, lined with comfortable, time-worn buildings stamped with 1921, 1918 and generic names like Garage, made me feel nostalgic for a time I never knew

The owner of Union Feed Inc. placed two bags of Nature’s Grown Organic chicken feed in the front seat of our red 1996 Volvo sedan. After a quick and cold thank you, I hopped back in the car, and breathed a sigh of gratitude as I patted my new 50 pound friend and thought, you are coming home with me.

I could tell the ladies were as I exited as I was as I filled the feeders with their new grub. The enthusiastic chicken chatter was obviously contagious as I began cackling on about how I understood the enormity of this very special day (By the way, if you have never found yourself carrying on a conversation with chickens, you really should try it.).

Today, I acknowledge the simple, seemingly small thoughts and actions that leave a little footprint but pack a powerful punch.




3 Comments on “The Little Big Things

  1. Hi Denise, Wendell Berry has some deep, complex thoughts. I like what he has to say. Your trek to Union sounded fun. Is this the first time buying organic feed? I went to Debbie’s mom’s funeral yesterday. It was at a Lutheran church in Hopkins. Linda was there too so we sat together at the lunch after the service. That’s one good thing about a church funeral, the food is often taken care of by the church ladies. Debbie spoke during the funeral about her remembrances about her mom. She did a nice job. I will be glad when Dads kidney stone finally passes. It’s been stressful being so far away while trying to help him maneuver what he has to do. He’s not too good about remembering details about the doctors instructions. He was supposed to take the pain meds only when needed but instead he was taking them every four hours. So he ran out and had to go to the emergency room again to get another prescription. Now he’s just taking ibuprofen and doing okay. He has an appointment to see a urologist tomorrow. What an ordeal it’s been. This may be his last trip out there all by himself. Haven’t got to walk much so far this winter. Either it’s too cold or it’s snowing. Today it was too cold. I really miss it. I’m supposed to walk with Mary on Friday so hopefully the weather will cooperate. Hopefully you are still doing well. I love reading your blog everyday. Take care and say hi to the girls and Chris from me. Love, mom

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. I Agree With Most If What Berry Has To Say. It Always Makes Me Feel Satisfied When I Have Done Somerhing Unexpected, But Right For Me. And Being A Bit Contrary Is My M O, So On To All Who Follow Different Paths, I Say! Happy To See You Have Made The Transition To Organic….Because I Know How Satisfying That Is For You. Hang In There, Spring Is Right Around The Corner, And The Garden Is Just Waiting.


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