I hope you have enjoyed the last three posts containing information about, and quotations from, the once-famous but now little-known Christian-agrarian writer, Edward Payson Roe. Here are a few more selections to close out this series:
A love for the soil and all the pursuits of outdoor life is one of the most healthful signs in a people. Our broad and diversified land affords abundant opportunity for the gratification of every rural taste, and those who form such tastes will never complain that life is losing its zest. Other pleasures pall with time and are satiated. We outgrow them. But every spring is a new revelation, every summer a fresh, original chapter of experience, and every autumn a fruition of hopes as well as of seeds and buds. Nothing can conduce more to happiness and prosperity than multitudes of rural homes. In such abodes you will not find Socialists, Nihilists, and other hare-brained reformers who seek to improve the world by ignoring nature and common sense. Possession of the soil makes a man conservative, while he, at the same time, is conserved.
Every crop is a prize to knowledge, skill, industry. Every flower is a beautiful mystery which may be solved in part; every tree is stored sunshine for the hearth, shelter from the storm, a thing of beauty while it lives, and of varied use when its life is taken. In animals, birds, insects, and vegetation we are surrounded by diversified life, and our life grows richer, more healthful and complete, as we enter into their life and comprehend it. The clouds above us are not mere reservoirs of water for prosaic use. In their light, shade, and exquisite coloring they are ever a reproach to the blindness of coarse and earthy minds.
If properly made and conducted [the garden] will yield a revenue which the wealth of the Indies could not purchase; for whoever bought in market the flavor of fruit and vegetables raised by one’s own hands or under our own eyes? Sentiment does count. A boy is a boy; but it makes a vast difference whether he is our boy or not. A garden may soon become a part of the man himself, and he is a better man for its care. Wholesome are the thoughts and schemes it suggests; healthful are the blood and muscle resulting from its products and labor therein. Even with the purse of a millionaire, the best of the city’s markets is no substitute for a garden; for nature and life are here, and these are not bought and sold. From stalls and peddler’s wagons we can buy but dead and dying things. The indolent epicure’s enjoyment of game is not the relish of the sportsman who has taken his dinner direct from the woods and waters.
I am often told, ”It is cheaper to buy fruit and vegetables than to raise them.” I have nothing to say in reply. There are many cheap things that we can have; experience has proved that one of the best things is to have a garden, either to work in or to visit daily when the season permits. We have but one life to live here, and to get the cheapest things out of it is rather poor ambition.
It may well become one of the dreams of our life to own land, if for no other reason than that of obtaining the priviledge of planting vines. As they take root, so will we, and after we have eaten their delicious fruit, the very thought of leaving our acre will be repugnant. The literature of the vine would fill a library; the literature of love would crowd many libraries. It is not essential to read everything before we start a little vineyard or go a-courting.
This post is the last of four
in a series about E.P. Roe.
in a series about E.P. Roe.
Click Here to go to the first post.