Saturday, April 11, 2009

Planting the Seeds

Being that time of year for farmers' daughters means that good feeling of putting seeds into ground and watching green sprouts come up. It's something I thought everyone loved, but I was brought up short by remarks I heard recently about the black community's estrangement from the land.

Growing up in the city often keeps children from having contact with the growing seasons, or anything that means direct contact with plant life. Fortunately, a program in Ft. Worth is combining prairieland preservation with city youth to give a sense of the land to children who wouldn't otherwise know that feeling of growing things. The writer of this article, Bob Ray Sanders, is a community-oriented gentleman as well, who has contributed a great deal to Ft. Worth's operation.

The patient had been violently injured, and the gaping wound needed immediate attention.

The laceration was so wide and long that the young "medics" in attendance were hard-pressed to decide where to begin treatment.

But they would begin, and although their hours of work resulted in only a small portion of the injury being addressed, last weekend’s operation was a success.

This patient is not human, even though environmental activist Jarid Manos often refers to it in human terms.

It is a 1,983-acre tract in southwest Fort Worth and Tarrant County that is the last remaining piece of the Fort Worth tallgrass prairie, land that Manos and a growing number of public and private citizens have been trying to save from destruction through development.

Manos is founder and chief executive officer of the Great Plains Restoration Council, in Fort Worth, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

For those who have never seen this land — once home to several Indian tribes, the buffalo and one of Texas’ earliest Anglo settlers — its majesty is almost unbelievable.

It is part of a million-year-old ecosystem, a way station for the migrating monarch butterfly and now home to a couple of buffalo that have been reintroduced to the prairie.

It’s owned now by the Texas General Land Office, but sale of the property has been on hold as Manos’ group tries to find a way to save it and preserve it for generations to come.

There is much that we miss by detachment, and the feel for the land you get by working it is something I hope everyone can appreciate. Getting your hands dirty has more meaning when you have done it, and profited by growing something you can see, smell and touch. During the Great Depression, relocation of urban workers gave them a new sense of the land as well as a way to support themselves.

These new friends of the land are gaining, and the earth is, too. This is a program that should be available to youth for all of our benefit.

One of the kinds of peace I hope everyone can experience is the quiet whisper of wind blowing through the tall grasses.

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Blogger btchakir said...

Voluntary Simplicity

Over 10 years ago, Scott Simon and the public tv folk did a documentary on "voluntary simplicity", living on only what is necessary, avoiding excess consumption, reducing stress and actually becoming "anti-materialistic." They ran it again on the Documentary Channel this afternoon and it really caught my attention.

Here, in our economic pothole, with a government trying to restore the high debt spending system supported by banks, investment houses, auto manufacturers and most of the world's producers of necessary and unnecessary products, we are all trying to get by from day to day with jobs disappearing and income tightening up.

Living a more simplified life in West Virginia is where Elly and I started heading before the blowout of the markets. It is somewhat less expensive here and the community has just about everything we need to survive as long as we can keep ma job. Elly's teaching position is fairly secure (mine, however, never was and is about to end --- leaving me back at freelancing in the web market... and fortunately I found my first local client on my initial entry into the market. One more account and I will be better off than I was teaching and have more control of my own time.)

The Farmer's Market has started again for the season, giving us access to fresh, mostly organic produce tied to the season. We participate in the Town recycling pickup every Tuesday morning (although I don't know where the plastic goes... hopefully not to landfills where they just add to the mess, but into new products or insulation or fabrics[?]... I saw an ad for men's suits made of a recycled plastic fabric!) We garden in our back yard, eat what we grow and have very good grocery stores with new organic food departments springing up all over.
Intellectual stimulation comes through Community Theatre (now I'm involved with Full Circle and really enjoying it) and the free Friday night film society.

And we could still simplify our lives some more. The next year will be an interesting experiment.

Under The LobsterScope

2:13 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Wonderful steps, Dr. Chakir, and I also am finding that simplifying makes sense in terms of satisfaction as well as economies.

5:47 AM  

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