07 May 2008

how can i help you?

that wendell berry gets me everytime.
a quote from an interview that took place in 1973,
makes me think he's been thinking about living well
since long before i was born.

BERRY: If you’re really going to neighbor, you go to them when they need you, and when you need help you call. Two brothers who live up the creek and another friend and I have known each other pretty near always, and we exchange work all the time. We don’t keep books. I do all I can for them. They do all they can for me. And it’s a good thing. Who knows what the record is? I helped one of them put in his crop of tobacco last year. He said, “What do I owe you?” I said, “Nothing.” That’s ceremony. He wouldn’t want me to think that I hadn’t worked well enough to deserve to be paid, or that he wouldn’t be willing to pay me if I wanted him to. But when hog-killing time came I had two hogs to kill and he said, “I’ve fattened you a hog, you need three.” He knew I hadn’t had enough bacon the year before. I don’t know whether he overpaid me or I overpaid him or where it stands. And that’s the way I prefer to live. That means our work has escaped from economics and has value in an altogether different sense, and a much larger sense. Our work for each other is valuable beyond its practical worth because there’s a deep strong bond of friendship and respect among us. It gives us pleasure to work together.

makes me wonder:
how can i help you?
i keep thinking about sending mr. fitzsimmon a letter about doing a little trade.
i think i'll go write that right now.

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