Sunday, July 05, 2009

'Life and Death on a Farm' - another reflection on transitions

This morning I received an email from a student and friend with whom I worked closely for several years and with whom I have kept in touch via email and Facebook. I will call her Margaret. Margaret’s roommate is experiencing a difficult transition, she wrote me. In their conversations, my friend was able to share the sense of a passage I had posted on the kitchen cabinet of my Faculty Resident's Apartment in AU’s Anderson Hall. Margaret had ample time to read the various aphorisms and exhortations I have posted while we cleaned up together after my bi-weekly Faculty Resident’s gourmet dinners for students. The passage which helped Margaret’s roommate was from a letter the late Donella Meadows wrote to me and a few others in 1986. If there are others experiencing transitions, perhaps it will be helpful to you as well. It is entitled “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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Blogger Tom Fiddaman said...

This wound up in a nice Global Citizen column,



3:31 PM  

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