Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Connection to the Land

Before I was in academia I worked for an energy company that prided itself on being environmentally friendly. It was run by a bunch of Boston Brahmins and respected in the community. Then one day they bought an enormous strip mine. Given their education they were smart enough to buy a Robert Frost poem that began "the land was ours before we were the land's." I learned a lot about corporate culture working there.
However, many of us have a relationship with the land which makes us deeper individuals. I once owned a house in La Canada, California that was built on a hill. I planted peach, avocado, Apple, four different blood orange trees, and many other varieties. My dog and I would walk the land every day and check out the trees. It was wonderful. Since I spent my early years on a farm this was a reaffirmation of my belief that watching things grow is rejuvenating. I also bought a thoroughbred-warmblood horse that had thrown everyone at the Flintridge riding club except for the former head of the German dressage team. She, of course, enjoyed throwing me.
After that, I married a med school professor and moved close to the University, because she would work some nights till 3 AM on National Institute of Health grant proposals. Living in a condo cuts you off from the land, but the realities of California real estate make some decisions for you.
I also became disabled, so that it would have been too difficult to handle either the horse or the fruit trees. But that doesn't mean I've given up lusting after trees and horses. You can keep some things in your heart that will never leave you. Those memories help sustain you.

No comments:

Post a Comment