Recently, a Buddhist brother posted this poem:
by Wendell Berry
At start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.
The poem brought to mind a contest I came across during a trip through the Midwest a few years back.
The Big Rock, Illinois, plowing match has been going on since the 1890s. The annual event invites an impressive collection of classic, working tractors and their owner-operators.
I love how scoring the plowing embodies principles of much broader application.