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I have not been on this forum for long, but I can appreciate the stories, thoughts and motivations represented by each poster. All these concepts and many more run through my head like out of control children at a church function, in that I fight my implied and trained social docility more than the knowledge that there are bad children about and there is but one way to stop them.

It is not easy to look forward to the future with scenarios involving steroid-infested, armor-plated and well-paid hitmen scurrying around to take you and your family to an environment that would give pause to Nazi Germany. Gather the willing, shoot the resistors. They all die either way. And so I ask, is that really the future of our great country and its citizens??

I just don't know either.

All I can say is "God, please not let it be", but inside I know that there are many sins that require recompense.

So, on a positive note, yesterday God placed me in my local library, in their used book section. I browsed for a while, as I always do, looking to pick off books from the early and mid 20th because of the lack of the communistic influence of political correctness and revisionism in that literature. And, in the middle of surfing the room a little book jumped from the softback section- Pleasant Valley by Louis Bromfield.

This edition is from 1971, even though the author wrote the book in 1943. It features an inspiring and beautiful picture of Pleasant Valley, Ohio that runs continuously from the back to the front cover. But it was the words above the title that provided all the insight and inspiration I needed for the day. It said, 'How a way of life was restored by going back to organic farming'.

Well, that summed it up in one sentence, didn't it? But I had never considered a promise associated with gardening- I had only thought it to be all the toil and drudgery I had to look forward to in the very near future. This restoration idea, however, got me downright excited. (Nearly as exciting is to report that I only paid 12.5 cents for the book. God is SO GOOD!)

In the last 18 hours I have read the book as much as possible and inside of 32 pages I quickly realize that good writing, truth and hopefulness make compelling reading and activates the mind with suppressed ambitions for a life as yet unrealized. To be more anecdotal, the hope is not for a plasma TV with a dangling PS3, but it is to be significant, no matter how small- just significant.

I don't want to ruin any part of this book, but I do feel that one passage is required reading by everyone on this forum. It appears on page 7 of the edition I have. The author, born in Pleasant Valley, Ohio has traveled the world, even earning the Legion of Honor award in WW1 and living in France for ten years afterward where, he states, he became renowned locally as the best gardener in the area, even though he was a novelist by trade. This fact is undoubtedly true given his immense reputation in the field of horticulture after his return to America- his return being the topic of the book.

He starts out in 1938, recounting the night before he is to depart a France- the country his ancestors were from and a country he loved very much- that was about to be gone forever because of the long shadow Hitler was casting across the face of Europe.

"I was aware too, quite suddenly, of what it was that attracted me to Europe and most of all to France; it was the sense of continuity and the permanence of small but eternal things, of the incredible resistance and resiliency of the small people. I had found there a continuity which had always been oddly lacking in American life save in remote corners of the country like parts of New England and the South....

The permanence, the continuity of France was not born of weariness and economic defeat, but was a living thing, anchored to the soil, to the very earth itself. Any French peasant, any French workingman with his little plot of ground and his modest home and wages, which by American standards were small, had more permanence, more solidity, more security, than the American workingman or white-collar worker who received, according to French standards, fabulous wages, who rented the home he lived in and was perpetually in debt for his car, his radio, his washing machine.

Sitting there it occurred to me that the high standard of living in America was an illusion, based upon credit and the installment plan, which threw a man and his family into the street and onto public relief the moment his factory closed and he lost his job. It seemed to me that real continuity, real love on one's country, real permanence had to do not with mechanical inventions and high wages but with the earth and man's love of the soil upon which he lived."

All I can say, is "Wow, Double Wow"! Here's a guy writing in 1943 about the industrial disconnect between what we do to survive and the humanistic concept of living.

Folks, things have not changed. The game is set up for us be good little industrialists and consumers for the ubiquitous notion of profit, advancement and enhancement. The industrialized society has given us so much as to have spoiled each and every benefactor and convinced them that the wares of their collective endeavors are the source of happiness and fulfillment. Or to be more succinct, "What's in your wallet?".

Louis Bromfield found out the truth. He found out the truth about permanence and meaning and existence. He came back to America, where he was already a Pulitzer Prize winning author and by turning around the old farms he had known as a boy in Pleasant Valley, became a great and admired horticultural mind, a source of agricultural innovation and optimization.

But it all started because his epiphany allowed him to draw back the drape of industrial disillusionment to reveal the hidden nature of truth.

Whatever happens going forward, I can honestly say that I am changed forever by the financial crisis. I have seen the fallacy and this crisis deepens my desire to connect with something other than the silly distractions of our culture.

Survive and Thrive!

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