"What better of life than to dream and to do". -Margaret Gehrke
Again I am writing a post directly influenced by the viewing of Ken Burn's film "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." I have found myself profoundly struck by this documentary and the open spaces it depicts. I can not help but to be led towards the thought of agriculture and its immense impact upon our national landscape. Some good, and yes...some bad ( I can't always be one-sided). However, this post is not meant to shine a negative light, rather an inspirational look into life and our rural selves.
The quote listed at the beginning is insignificant in history. It does not originate from a great dignitary of our nation nor a pontificate of a foreign land. Rather, this quote belongs to a life long National Park visitor and proud American from Lincoln, Nebraska. Of all the millions of quotes in the annuls of American history, I was oddly struck by this simple woman's simple words. Her dream was to visit all of the National Parks and she simply did it. What great solace I find in the act of simplicity.
Today's realm of career and livelihood possibilities are massively complex and seemingly endless. Our complex society provides great potential to young adults such as myself. Potential to grow and expand a career. Potential to work hard among droves of people in order to earn a spot at the table. Potential for wealth and power. However, while entrenched in the madness of achievement it can become challenging to unwind and allow yourself the pleasure of simplicity. Simple is good. It is necessary and becomes increasingly difficult to find once you begin the path of a complex adult life.
To me, it is the simplicity of those who choose to stay rural and tend to their land that sustains our nation's economy and most importantly, our nutrition. Even while the agricultural world remains abuzz between the merits of production versus organic agriculture, or tackles the complicated nature of biotechnology, it is the realization that we must simply feed and care for our world that drives agriculturalists to perform.
While we grow and steer our lives towards various goals, I think it important to take pause and recognize that there is success and dignity in simplicity. Simplicity exudes strength and builds character. Constant pressure pushes us to produce, achieve, earn and succeed within the parameters of our society. But, deep within our existence, we grasp for something more simple, something more rural?
Among my friends, the mere mention of the country lights up a passion for the outdoors and open space. Speak of agriculture, farms and ranches sparks people's interest while usually leading to an invigorating conversation or story tied directly with a rural experience. Rural life provides the simplicity these people seek and need for their own personal well being.
Personally, living in the city has given me a unique looking glass through which I gaze upon the simple life as a chersished goal. Urbanites may think of farmers and ranchers as simpletons. They may even bestow this sentiment to the majority of those living the rural lifestyle, but shouldn't simplicity be a compliment and source of pride in a complex world?