“A Life Fully Lived”
A review of
A Time to Plant:
Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt
By Kyle T. Kramer
Review by Ragan Sutterfield.
A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt
By Kyle T. Kramer
Paperback: Sorin Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
I have long been haunted by the closing of Alisdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue:
What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another—doubtless very different—St. Benedict.
The passage speaks to the deep longing in our time for a community of sustainable virtue and values; a place where practices that ground us in what is truly valuable can thrive.
Often thinking of this passage from MacIntyre, I was struck years later when I read the introduction to farmer and writer Gene Logsdon’s book Living at Nature’s Pace. The last sentence of the introduction of Logsdon’s book recalls with amazing parallel the last paragraph of After Virtue, as Logsdon writes, “Sustainable farms are to today’s headlong rush toward global destruction what monasteries were to the Dark Ages: places to preserve human skills and crafts until some semblance of common sense and common purpose returns to the public mind.”
Might MacIntyre’s new St. Benedict might be clad in overalls rather than a habit?
Kyle Kramer’s book, A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt points in the direction of a “yes.”