Friday, August 7, 2009

The Good Earth

"He had no articulate thought of anything; there was only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods. The earth lay rich and dark, and fell apart lightly under the points of their hoes. Sometimes they turned up a bit of brick, a splinter of wood. It was nothing. Some time, in some age, bodies of men and women had been buried there, houses had stood there, had fallen, and gone back into the earth. So would also their house, some time, return into the earth, their bodies also. Each had his turn at this earth. They worked on, moving together-- together-- producing the fruit of this earth-- speechless in their movement together." - Pearl Buck The Good Earth

This quote shot off the page and struck me as deaths poignancy. It humbles the reader, bringing him or her to the realization of time and place. Kind of sums up life in many ways. Impermanence. Change.

We each have our turn at this earth. Read into this sentence what you will. To me, it means that however important we may think ourselves, what metrics have you: land, money, popularity, love, etc., that we are only here but a moment. Our time too, will pass. We have our chance to do what we will, then we hand over what we have done to those who follow. We do have power and can exact sweeping change according to our desire, but it is forever fleeting and ultimately imperfect.

What did I make of my turn on this earth? This may be a question asked of yourself as age tallies its numbers. It may be a question unspoken, only you knowing the answer.
I'd like to say I did my best to be a just person. In a greater sense, there is no ownership, and we borrow what we have from the past and future. I hope leave the good earth in no worse shape than it was given, if not better. This may seems an impossibility in our day and age . It is also an unanswerable statement, for who really knows the power of their footsteps?

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