top soil

Wendell Berry:

A healthy soil is made by the life dying into it and by the life living in it, and to its double ability to drain and retain water we are complexly indebted… It is making life out of death [and] in a time when death is looked upon with almost universal enmity, it is hard to believe that the land we live on and the lives we live are the gifts of death. Yet that is so and it is the topsoil that makes it so.

Are all these things not also true of us, of human souls. We die daily, new life lives in us daily too. We drain and retain energy, creativity, ideas, experiences, being. Our lives in a most fundamental sense are the gifts of death. We are the topsoil of all creation.

“We die daily. Happy those who daily come to life as well.” George MacDonald

…for soil is improved by what humans do not do as well as by what they do. The proprieties of soil husbandry require acts that are much more complex than industrial acts, for these acts are conditioned by the ability not to act, by forbearance or self-restraint, sympathy or generosity.

We are improved by what we do not do as well as by what we do (ask Lao Tzu). Perhaps we too have lost the ability (if we ever did have it) “not to act” in relation to ourselves—are not all the virtues listed more necessary in your relationship to yourself?

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