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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Go to a Farm

Here's my dirty little secret: I love the smell of manure. And compost. And humus.

They smell of verdure.

I love to be near, or better, among, cows. I love watching chickens, some of God's dumbest and least graceful birds, as they run down a bug.

I love walking through cornstalks taller than me.

When I was a kid, my grandpa had 10 acres of Thompson seedless grapes and a contract with Sunmaid Raisins. Visiting the farm, playing with the dogs, collecting eggs--that was living.

For several of my preschool years, when asked what I wanted to be "when I grew up" (a problem that still vexes me) I would answer "a farmer." (After that, it was "President.")

I had to have a new "Farm Set" from the Sears Catalog every year for Christmas, too.

Later, in "Marriage: The Prequel," I had geese, chickens, pigeons, a horse, and a goat.

Now, I've become a little sensitive. I know about "agribusiness," and I know that the life of farm animals is more like a Stalag 17 than like Babe.

But still, to be around growing things; to walk through rice fields all over east Asia; to see the farmers in Jiangsu threshing on half of a two-lane asphalt road; to watch the water buffalo soaking in his massive natural tub--that takes me back to the pre-Industrial days when most human beings made their livings on some sort of farm.

So go visit one. Or, if you can't, find a community garden, or a petting zoo.

You'll be happier.

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