Wendell Berry Freedom in Connection Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Certainly it is true that there are a number of ways in which farmers and environmentalists can find common cause and there are parallel paths that the two can take toward their common goals. However, while farming can be done in a way that makes it as gentle as possible on the land, it is never the same as natural growth.

He seems to be arguing (although this is not an argument that he makes in explicit terms but rather one that must be teased out in the process of comparing a number of his works) that farming is one of the activities that are available to humans that is most likely to produce grace. Farming, he suggests, can be seen as a form of resurrection, a chance for the land to be reborn in the process of saving humanity.

Berry's focus on resurrection is explicit in the ending lines of "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front":

Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.

This call to seek rebirth, not just once as a Christian does after death, but in the far more ancient search for rebirth that obtains in the observation of the seasons and in the not-so-ancient sowing and reaping in concert with those seasons (Berry 49).

Freedom, for Berry, is not a
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letting go but in reconnection with the oldest parts of human experience. Freedom is the act of slipping out of a bedroom, of escaping from that sweetest sound of the breathing of a child sleeping in the next room, and pillowing one's head in the damp leaf fragments at the base of a tree, and remembering once again that grace does not arise from the death of Christ. This death was merely one manifestation of the story of all of humanity: Life appears and then death appears, each feeding the other. Christ's death brings grace, as does the death of every creature. And Christ's (re)birth bring grace, as does the birth of any creature (Berry 36).

Berry is fundamentally concerned with life and death, with the way grace is depositing and withdrawn. But he is far more interested in freedom, in the release from the cycle of grace. When he ends "The Peace of Wild Things" with "For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free" he has found freedom in the thought that at least for him there will be an end to everything.

Works Cited

Angyal, Andrew. Wendell Berry. New York: Twayne, 1995.

Berry, Wendell. Farming: A Hand Book. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1970.

Berry, Wendell. Christianity and the Survival of Creation. Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. New York: Pantheon, 1993.

Berry, Wendell. The Gift…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Angyal, Andrew. Wendell Berry. New York: Twayne, 1995.

Berry, Wendell. Farming: A Hand Book. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1970.

Berry, Wendell. Christianity and the Survival of Creation. Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. New York: Pantheon, 1993.

Berry, Wendell. The Gift of Good Land. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2009.

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