We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it—for a little while. — Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
Lately I’ve been on a Willa Cather kick. I just finished reading O Pioneers! and yesterday as we tilled our garden, this quote came to mind. Oh, I know we hardly compare to the vastness of her Nebraskan plains but as I watched the soil turn under our trusty Troy-Bilt, I contemplated the care we’d given this ground during its season of rest. Or recuperation, as Willa says.
(Willa. Such a pretty name. That’s why I’m into her work…and because she writes about Swedish farmers:-)
Back in November, as I dumped load after load of chicken manure onto the gray, leaden earth (more Willa prose), I remember thinking how even though we don’t garden in winter—literally, that is—we are still working the land. We continue to nurture it and prepare it for another season.
And now, here it’s spring and we’re tilling the garden. Goodness, that came fast!
Last week we had our neighbor over dinner. He came with a bottle of tasty wine and a Jefferson County Plat Book, dated 1899. Isn’t the typography beautiful? Such ornate craftsmanship even for something so utilitarian as a plat book!
We spent several hours scanning its brittle pages. It’s fascinating to note the family names that once owned our neighborhood farms, many of them now listed on gravestones in a cemetery up the road.
We come and go, as Willa says, but the land is always here. I feel very blessed to be the one who loves it now. And I’m sooo excited about the upcoming gardening season!