Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Knife You Believe In

A guest student asked so, "why farming, why Green Gulch?"

The answer to this question gets shorter and shorter each time I'm asked.

I'm here because the knife you believe in is the knife that cuts best. Down in the 4th field, we have a spinach crop and a can of knives. Some are serrated, some are straight blades, like a fillet knife. Then there are our pocket knives and harvest knives, though I've never seen anyone harvest spinach with a harvest knife, as it's too big for that action.

Considerable time is spent with our knives; first we pick one, and then we need to sharpen it. I think it's all about this sharpening. I don't think any of the knives actually cuts better than the one before and after and I think our lives, where we choose to be, what we choose to do, are also like this.

I used to sit down and map out my life. I'd write down some important activities -like reading, writing, running, sitting- and then evaluate how well a place or job would support me in those activities. A teaching job still wins this contest on paper.

Of course, that wasn't my experience. For whatever reason, teaching made my heartache, which made my feet slow, and I slept too much. I also think that whatever made teaching difficult was a fiction. I miss my students.

For whatever reason, I pick my little my little 12 dollar pocket knife. It's serrated at the base and honed at the tip. It's familiar, it's usually nearby, and I just believe in it.

This life -this knife- of zen practice and farming is my response to Suez, Monsanto, Academi (formally known as Xe, formally known as Blackwater) and other corporations and war mongers intent on destroying the planet and each other.

Sharpen and cut, sharpen and cut.


  1. Vajra in hand, vajra in mind.
    Harvesting greens, harvesting clouds.

    He has a twelve dollar vajra
    diamond cutter
    in his back pocket.

  2. I'm loving shorter answers. When I begin listening to or giving explanations....somehow the grey ocean comes much closer to drowning me.

    Trust is the most valuable, powerful thing in the universe. Yet also, the most fragile.