Dang, I guess that makes me a rainmaker…

  Amazing.  After just having remarked about what a great magazine is the Economist, the very next issue carried a short bit about my father’s first cousin!  The interview was shorter than a haiku, but cool just the same. 

  It had to do with the terrible flooding here in Iowa.  “Surveying his farm [with the reporter, he] saw glistening pools where corn stalks should have been.  Where the water had receded the earth was muddy, dotted by feeble plants.  ‘I consider us lucky’…  Much of his farm has survived.  Others have seen their land almost totally submerged.” 

  When I called out to ask if he was signing autographs, his wife answered and paused at first.  She hadn’t seen the article.  But, someone had called from town a few days back and asked if it’d be ok for a reporter from NYC to stop out…  

  They’d agreed to help, but with some concern.  They’d been interviewed before about life on the farm and the experience had done little but reinforce their innate reticence.  One’s life should speak for itself. 

  I read the bit to her.  She said they had been lucky, that the Lord had always been good to them. 

  Doesn’t all that make you wish your were a farmer? Had an intimate and interactive relationship with the earth?  No BS, no whining, no spray, no bling. 

  Reminds me of a poem (and source of the name of this little digital acreage): 

Subtle Signs

by Michael Carey – from his book The Noise The Earth Makes 

Although they had worked for days
hardly a word was spoken between them –
just hand gestures and a waving
of arms.  From tractor to truck,
from hillside to house,
these said what was needed.
 
His father, once, had called his uncle
a “terrible talker.”  he knew, now, what
he meant; that sometimes over dinner
and beer, Uncle Al found a use
for words, making them dance
around the pudding and cranberry sauce
and fall down upon them
like a crazy invisible rain.
 
Helping his father and brother with harvest,
he learned to read the subtle
signs in the subtle landscape:
how nature speaks to those who listen,
and those who listen when she speaks
hardly speak at all.

Also just like last time, I am reminded of something Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard once said: 

“You don’t see farmers as climbers.  You see city people.  Farmers don’t need to climb”

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