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004_ Interview: make tending your backyard a tradition

15 October, 2020 - 3 min read

004_ Interview: make tending your backyard a tradition

Hey there, and thank you for pressing play on this episode of _bandwidth: coast to coast.

As a kid, I spent two years living with my grandparents off 47 and Minooka road, on a 5 acre, century old farm house surrounded by fields.

There are a few big signposts in my life that I can point to, as having an outsized imprint on my personality and lifelong interests. This experience is no doubt in my mind, one of the largest imprints.

I was in awe of the endless fields in every direction, all perfectly aligned in a row as you pass by them, looking like a geometric line trick that perfectly keeps pace with the car.

The sound of the corn blowing in the wind, giving away the breeze just a few seconds before it hits your face.

Ordinary, obvious, boring things we frequently don’t even think of as we drive over “boring” landscapes.

Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, they’re all full of flat fields that go on and on feeling like an eternity.

What we take for granted, while we flatly gaze at the repeated landscapes, other than what used to be there before all those crops, is how heavily people are managing that land.

How much work it is to keep those rows straight, clean, and growing. How much thought, effort, trial and error has gone into making that soil nutrient dense enough, to grow the same crops on it over and over.

The way we’re farming like this is new, and is not meant to serve any other purpose than grow, cut, prepare, plant and repeat, as much of a single plant as possible.

I don’t believe farmers intend to ignore other extraneous factors that are a result of such a system, but I believe they have enough worries on their mind to not leave much room for considering them.

How much of our land is like this?

How much of the united states lives in this type of duality, where obvious problems hidden right in front of us in banal or “ordinary”?

When the wildfires hit their peak this year, I saw one person’s name come up to give another perspective to the duality of narratives being pushed.

What about managing quote un quote ‘nature’, in a different way?

A way steeped in tradition, but not just for the Sapien tending to it, but for the creatures, plants, fungi, death and birth, decay and ash — all in one.

I valued tradition before I talked with my guest today. How it can serve as a reminder of something to keep in mind, or a marker of time.

But I never had considered thinking about tradition in a way where I’m setting the conditions for traditions to emerge with other souls, or other creatures.

I had the honor of talking with Ron Goode, the tribal chairmen of the North Fork Mono Tribe in California.

We talked about the terrible state California meadows are in, with only 5% of them being healthy.

What a healthy forest looks like, how him and his tribe tend their land, how they get to witness traditions between generations of deer, super producing acorn trees, what life was like before Columbus and a whole lot in between.

I hope you get as much out of this as I did.

Enjoy!

-J.R.

This was an excerpt from the intro essay to _bandwidth: coast to coast

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