Some of the best things I have ever thought of I have thought of during bad sermons.
My label is just good farming, which isn't something you can put on a t-shirt.
When the self is ones exclusive subject and limit, reference and measure, one has no choice but to make a world of words.
Specialization is the great evil of civilization.
The good of the whole of Creation, the world and all its creatures together, is never a consideration because it is never thought of; our culture now simply lacks the means for thinking of it.
I believe in thrift as I believe in freedom, but I don't support the plutocratic hostility to taxation, regulation, and protections of land, water, and air.
The connections between people and land are dangerously oversimplified and mainly technological.
And his words fell upon the table like a blessing.
Young lovers see a vision of the world redeemed by love. That is the truest thing they ever see, for without it life is death.
I'm a writer more than I am a talker.
All we can do to prepare rightly for tomorrow is to do the right thing today.
Individualism is going around these days in uniform, handing out the party line on individualism.
We have forgotten that Vietnam, and Iraq resent being invaded and know the ground better than we do.
We can grow good wheat and make good bread only if we understand that we do not live by bread alone.
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
When there are enough people on the land to use it but not enough to husband it, then the wildness of the soil that we call fertility begins to diminish, and the soil itself begins to flee from us in water and wind.
We walked always in beauty, it seemed to me. We walked and looked about, or stood and looked. Sometimes, less often, we would sit down. We did not often speak. The place spoke for us and was a kind of speech. We spoke to each other in the things we saw.
Our most serious problem, perhaps, is that we have become a nation of fantasists. We believe, apparently, in the infinite availability of finite resources.
You see, we don't have enough sense to make these decisions. Somehow, you just get led to where you're supposed to be, if you're willing to submit.
There are some things the arrogant mind does not see; it is blinded by its vision of what it desires.
American agriculture is badly in need of diversity. Another threat to the food system of course is the likelihood that petroleum is not going to get any cheaper.
We're all complicit in the things we may be trying to oppose. I'm complicit in the things that I'm trying to oppose.
We do need a 'new economy,' but one that is founded on thrift and care, on saving and conserving, not on excess and waste. An economy based on waste is inherently and hopelessly violent, and war is its inevitable by-product. We need a peaceable economy.
It's mighty hard right now to think of anything that's precious that isn't endangered. There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places. My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts.
We will instead have to measure our economy by the health of the ecosystems and human communities where we do our work.
Industrial agriculture characteristically proceeds by single solutions to single problems: If you want the most money from your land this year, grow the crops for which the market price is highest.
It is the man who can think of no alternative to his enslavement who is truly a slave.
We know enough of our own history by now to be aware that people exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love. To defend what we love we need a particularizing language, for we love what we particularly know.
Do not tax your life with forethought of grief.
Don't pray for the rain to stop; pray for good luck fishing when the river floods.
The promoters of the global economy...see nothing odd or difficult about unlimited economic growth or unlimited consumption in a limited world.
Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.
Violence breeds violence. Acts of violence committed in justice or in affirmation of rights or in defense of peace do not end violence. They prepare and justify its continuation.
It's impossible to contemplate the life of soil very long without seeing its analogy to the life of the spirit.
You mustn't wish for another life. You mustn't want to be somebody else. What you must do is this: Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks. I am not all the way capable of so much, but those are the right instructions.
When you are new at sheep-raising and your ewe has a lamb, your impulse is to stay there and help it nurse and see to it and all. After a while you know that the best thing you can do is walk out of the barn.
Ask the world to reveal its quietude- not the silence of machines when they are still, but the true quiet by which birdsongs, trees, bellworts, snails, clouds, storms become what they are, and are nothing else.
I lack the peace of simple things. I am never wholly in place. I find no peace or grace. We sell the world to buy fire, our way lighted by burning men.
Battle with unconditioned breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensional life; stay away from screens.
A change of heart or of values without a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life.
In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter, war spreading, families dying, the world in danger, I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.
Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking even the courage of a personal hatred.
When the possessions and households of citizens are no longer honored by the acts, as well as the principles, of their government, then the concentration camp ceases to be one of the possibilities of human nature and becomes one of its likelihoods.
For want of a Pilate of their own, some Christians would accept a Constantine or whomever might be the current incarnation of Caesar.
There is no sense and no sanity in objecting to the desecration of the flag while tolerating and justifying and encouraging as a daily business the desecration of the country for which it stands.
I am not an optimist; I am afraid that I won't live long enough to escape my bondage to the machines.
The securest guarantee of the long-term good health of both farmland and city is, I believe, locally produced food.
When the mind's an empty room
The clear days come.
In order to survive, a plurality of true communities would require not egalitarianism and tolerance but knowledge, an understanding of the necessity of local differences, and respect. Respect, I think, always implies imagination -- the ability to see one another, across our inevitable differences, as living souls. (pg. 181, Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community).
The ability to speak exactly is intimately related to the ability to know exactly.
A teacher's major contribution may pop out anonymously in the life of some ex-student's grandchild. A teacher, finally, has nothing to go on but faith, a student nothing to offer in return but testimony.
A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.
I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love.
We live the given life, and not the planned.
An agrarian mind begins with the love of fields and ramifies in good farming, good cooking and good eating.
To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for.
It is, of course, one of the miracles of science that the germs that used to be in our food have been replaced by poisons.
Having hope is hard; harder when you get older.
The mercy of the world is time. Time does not stop for love, but it does not stop for death and grief, either.
And if we ask what are the cultural resources that can inform and sustain a proper creaturely and stewardly awareness of the lives in a farmer's keeping, I believe that we will find them gathered under the heading of husbandry.
Unexpected wonders happen, not on schedule, or when you expect or want them to happen, but if you keep hanging around, they do happen.
I don't believe that grief passes away. It has its time and place forever. More time is added to it; it becomes a story within a story. But grief and griever alike endure.
Any religion has to have a practice. When you let it go so far from practice that it just becomes a matter of talk something bad happens.
I like the way that the history of the tree shapes the tree. There's no distinction between the tree and its history. You can lose yourself in that thought.