Friday, November 18, 2005

Life and Death on A Farm

I don’t live close to nature during weekdays, but looking out the window of my apartment, as I sit for quiet moments each morning, does make me conscious of the seasons. Three beautiful bushes are visible. They are now bright with fall coloring and will soon be bare. The onset of the fall season called to mind a column written by my friend the late Dr. Donella Meadows. The title was ‘Life and Death on a Farm.’

You don’t have to live on a farm very long before you come to terms with life and death, with all the Novembers when you kill last spring’s lambs and start next spring’s lambs. It is not that you become hard or unfeeling; rather you become accepting. You see life and death as a cycle or a continuum. You see that deaths are necessary for the balance of the farm, so that the ratios of rams and ewes and sheep and pastures will be right. You know that there will be beautiful meat to feed people, that not only the soil but all of nature turns death into new life, that in spite of all the death in the world, life persists. The whole process takes on a mysterious beauty and dignity. November, with its pervasive death isn’t the exciting high of April when the lambs are born and the daffodils bloom, but it’s the serene time of preparation for April; April couldn’t happen without it.


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