Plant a Sequoia Tree

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay.
Want more of everything ready-made.
Be afraid to know your neighbours and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery any more.
Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you.
When they want you to die for profit
they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute.
Love the Lord.
Love the world.
Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace the flag.
Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.

Expect the end of the world.
Laughter is immeasurable.
Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.

Grace and Peace to you …

This poem by Wendell Berry is quite powerful in its entirety, but there is one line that I have been sitting with…

Plant a Sequoia Tree

It is no small thing to plant a Sequoia tree as Wendell Berry proposes. Sequoias are literal giants among trees! One of the oldest Sequoia trees is thought to be 3,500 years old. Many grow to be 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter and more than 250 feet (76 meters) tall. When I think of Sequoia trees, I think these are the type of trees that the Psalmist describes “they are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” Psalm 1:3.

So, what does it mean to plant a Sequoia tree? What might it look like to invest part of our energy in things that might not make a drastic difference in our present reality, but will make a marked difference in a future that we may or may not see? I invite you to reflect this week about things that invoke in you a sense of holy discontent. What do you wrestle with deeply about the world around you? Change does not come through simply wrestling. Lasting change comes through prophetically imaginative acts like planting Sequoia trees.

I invite you to find two to three people within your life to have a conversation with this week. Ask them about where their holy discontent resides. Share with them yours and begin to wonder about ways you can make a difference. March is water conservation month and I am wondering if there are two or three among you that would like to dream with me about ways we as a community might Plant a Sequoia tree in our water reality. We can know the children of the future will thirst and talk about it or we can work to change this reality a little bit at a time through educating, making changes in our lives, and being a parable community who demonstrates for the world the ways we can come together to make a difference. Let’s do it.

Let’s Plant Sequoia Trees!

With you on the journey, Michelle

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