Now, Somewhere in June….

Despite my covering attempts, the frost nipped the edges of a few of my basil plants. I stood in the garden this morning, chilly in my sweater, staring. Such a small, minor loss.

June in Vermont brings us into the dreamy, gauzy period, of fragrant lilacs and gentle breeze through the new leaves. This year, June brings the nightmare side of the dream world, too, in these days full of tension.

Which way will we go? The days and nights are filled with tension. A nerve-racking doubt wakes me in the night. The windows are closed against the cold. I remind myself that, even in the wake of what appears insurmountable, our individual lives matter, that history has always swept us along, and the only meaningful way forward is step by step.

In a bit, I get up and feed the cats, then pull on my jacket and stand on the porch, watching as the stars slowly fade.

Among a large class, there seemed to be a dependence upon the government for every conceivable thing. The members of this class had little ambition to create a position for themselves, but wanted the federal officials to create one for them. How many times I wished then and have often wished since, that by some power of magic, I might remove the great bulk of these people into the country districts and plant them upon the soil – upon the solid and never deceptive foundation of Mother Nature, where all nations and races that have ever succeeded have gotten their start – a start that at first may be slow and toilsome, but one that nevertheless is real.

Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery


Photo by Gabriela Stanciu — myself and brother

3 thoughts on “Now, Somewhere in June….

  1. Booker T Washington was a proponent of the “Atlanta Compromise” which reinforced “separate but equal”. This quote and its passive voice are part of that outlook. The reality is that he could not put African Americans on the land because they were barred from it at the time. They could not get loans, receive aid that many farmers require, homestead, move to Oregon (until the 1920s). Later they would be denied aid under the USDA farm programs, they would be driven off the land by force and violence in many cases. They were denied access to State Universities that their taxes funded until the middle of the twentieth century. Their dependence on the Government was not because of some lack of character but a willful act of a ruling class to maintain control of the land because it is valuable.

    Consider instead the words of Frederick Douglas “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”

    These are troubling times as the police clear churchyards so officials can stand in front of boarded alters and propose violence, and I too wish all people who wished to could work the land, but more I would have all people who long for peace and justice be treated peacefully and be treated justly.

    • Thank you for your contribution; I’d wondered about that quote. You’ve prompted every to get out and read a book by Mr. Douglas that I’d bought and not yet read.

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