Perhaps as penance, perhaps as justification for my uncontrollable love of water and its power, since January I have been interviewing farmers about the December and January floods and am trying to create an internal balance of my feelings about the needs of those farmers and the action of water. I can’t deny that they suffer but I also can’t condemn the rivers. They are doing what they do. I hope there can be reconciliation.
Linda Neunzig Herding and Sorting Sheep—February 13, 2011
When I showed up early that Sunday morning, Linda was away getting fuel for her tractor. As soon as she got back she started working. She put diesel in the tractor, started preparing the barns for cleaning and let the sheep out of their main barn to the pasture. I asked her questions as she worked but mostly followed along watching what she did and let her comment.
In 2050 my son could be a grandfather. Given population growth and the technical development and environmental destruction that have occurred since I was a four-year-old child playing by streams in New England woods, I think in that future, if we have built a few small reservoirs such as those Erick mentioned, it would be a minor alteration among many more technical. And, while we love the idyll of returning to a pastoral life, it seems more likely to me that current responses to food scarcity will be on the path of primarily infrastructural solutions like those reservoirs. Water conserving and permaculture farming practices will help but simply based on the potential demand for food, they may not be enough.