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I want to thank The Valley Reporter for publishing the most wonderful articles written by Huguette Abbott Viens titled “About Town.” As a young boy I was fortunate to have grown up on a near subsistence-level farm in Maryland. While the soils down there may have been somewhat different, the precious kind of experiences and the wholesome lifestyle Ms. Viens writes about were not.
Today, I lament how much of the country has not only become urbanized and industrialized but also deeply technologically dependent. With the loss of so many small farms (where the cows had real names), I fear the many profound lessons to be learned from working the land will become unknown and forgotten.
I was also fortunate to have a broad academic education but in retrospect the profound teachings of life and death, compassion, equanimity (I used to play with some very poor children), self- reliance, self-sufficiency, hard work and wholesome sustainability of the good earth were but a few of the many lessons learned on the farm. Sixty years later, when I look around at our computer- and gadget-dependent world, I often wonder about and fear the disconnect from Mother Nature we are perpetuating. Today, some folks refer to this phenomenon as the mind-body split.
When we drive by the beautiful meadows and pastures in The Valley try to connect to the hard work entailed in clearing those fields of boulders, stumps and rocks with only axes, hand saws, horses or oxen. Try to connect to the enormous work of local farmers keeping the brush and weed out that could quickly become a small forest in a blink of the eye. Try to connect, the next time you drive by a beautiful field, to all the men, women and children who toiled endlessly to bring these spectacular landscapes to us. Then reflect upon the many lessons lost.
Thank you again, Ms. Viens, for awakening all of us to a nearly lost reality.
George Gardner lives in Warren.