Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Dig for Victory; Dig for Survival"

Another out of season photo, but today as the wind blows the leaves off the trees before they are fully open, I need to believe in a harvest, a good outcome.  These are some of the bales on my friend and neighbour's field nearest the road into the village.  When I passed it by last year at the end of the season, I took comfort in it.  A seasonal marker. An indication of abundance, of hope against the coming dark times.

When I first saw such giant round bales rather than the more manageable rectangular bales I had actually handled, I was with my brother in the back seat of a car. I don't know how young I was, but young enough to be young rather than old or older, and he called them giant shredded wheat--our favourite breakfast cereal at the time--and we laughed thinking how big a bowl you would need.

When I lived at Isauld, I walked among the bales, pushing them, getting the actual measure of them.  If we are lucky or curious or intellectually honest, we can trade our childish notions for more mature, more seasoned ones.  If we are very very lucky, we can keep the whimsy of our childhood and marry it to the more seasoned, more accurate perception.

The title for this post comes from a quote from the current Farming Minister, David Heath. In full as it appeared in yesterday's Press and Journal:

Once we used to "Dig for Victory".  There may come a time when we have to 'Dig for Survival'.

 I only saw the brief quote because it was on the same page as the crossword puzzle.  I have lost faith in our politicians because so few of them have upgraded their childhood, whimsical notions of shredded wheat in the fields. A quote passed around anecdotally among farmers here is attributed to the Minister of Agriculture under the Blair administration. She is alleged to have said that we had no need for farming in Britain because we could import our food more cheaply. Fortunately for us all, her stint as Minister of Agriculture was brief.  More importantly,  while she clung to her childish notions, folks who knew better went on about their business.


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