The passing of Gene Logsdon last month hit me hard. It was so sudden, so out of the blue, that its impact was raw and hot especially as my wife and I were experiencing the pending loss of her mother to cancer at the same time. Gene, to me like so many of us, was a proxy grandfather spinning yarns of past days chocked full of practical wisdom, mores, and humour. I am working my way through my Gene Logsdon shelf of my library, and looking forward to filling in some holes there as well. This morning I picked up The Contrary Farmer, and was instantly reminded of why I love Gene so much:
We are circumspect about our economic institutions. We do not bank on paper money within marble walls, but invest in sun and soil and sweat and the tools that make sweat more productive.
I think of us as the Rampart People. In all ages, we have camped on the edges of the earth, the buffer between our more conventional and timid brethren and those nether regions where, as the medieval maps instructed, “there be dragons and wild beestes.” It is our destiny to draw the dragon’s view while the mainstream culture hides behind its disintegrating deficit and ramen us for shattering its complacency. So be it.
Gene started his farm when he was 42- I think that it is not overly coincidental that I happen to be turning 42 next week, and I find that inspiring- also challenging.
It is easy to see Gene as a grandfather, but Gene is also the Ben Kenobi of Sustainable Agriculture and he will continue on more powerful than we can possibly imagine. I see his ghost smiling at me as I sharpen my restored hatchet, when I pause in my compost turning to watch a bluebird hunt the garden, or his giving me a hard time whenever I get a little too much hubris- which is often. And now when I sit and look at my career path and then look longingly over the once fertile fields of Minnesota, I hear him too.
Run, Luke …run!
Man the ramparts, all. We need them.
Be the Change
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