Farm Drum 9: Rose
“There are two kinds of realists: the one who offers a good deal of dirt with his potato to show that it is a real potato, and the one who is satisfied with the potato brushed clean. I’m inclined to be the second kind. To me the thing that art does for life is to clean it, to strip it to form.” — Robert Frost
LESSONS OF THE ROSE: Out the back window is a tall pink rose that this season has not been pruned, fed or watered enough. Yet here in the first fall storm it has a dozen big, bold blooms hanging on, still not blown apart. And a bunch of tight buds just below them are waiting their turn. If I had cut those pink roses the buds would have already bloomed. Plucking the bloom or the fruit is a signal to the plant to get on with its work, to finish its reproductive cycle. You notice how many of the plants that bear most heavily are those you pick regularly, rather than all at once. The same is true in orchards, berry patches, cotton fields, bean rows.
“Why are we afraid to speak publicly of matters of the hand, matters of muscle, matters of the heart? Why do we permit the dweebs of commerce to denigrate nature, natural process and the biological world? Why do we allow them to make silly the notion of farming? Why do we feel compelled to seek out ways where we might for a dollar find an acceptable substitute for nature?” — LRM
“The farmer raised and took to market things with an intrinsic value; wheat and corn as good as could be grown anywhere in the world, hogs and cattle that were the best of their kind. In return he got manufactured articles of poor quality; showy furniture that went to pieces, carpets and draperies that faded, clothes that made a hand- some man look like a clown. Most of his money was paid out for machinery, — and that, too, went to pieces. A steam thrasher didn’t last long; a horse outlived three automobiles.” — Willa Cather, (One of Ours, 1922)