Meeting Wendell Berry

On Oct. 1st I received a letter from Wendell Berry. I had the chance to meet him this fall at the Land Institute's Prairie Festival. It took me 8 hours of scoping, tip-toeing and posting up near the area where he, Tanya and Mary sit. When I finally found the window to introduce myself, I blabbered a bunch of appreciations, not giving him chance to respond. I finished my flood of laudations by telling him that I had a package for him. I have no idea where this came from, maybe some dream of gifting Wendell with something that embodies the totality of my gratitude, but of course, I didn't have a package for him. So, he looked at me with his kindliest eyes, and said, "I don't want a package. I have to fly home tomorrow." Then I said, "Oh, of course, I don't have a package." He looked perplexed, so I backed away slowly, in a half-bow, as if before the Dalai Lama. Another disciple filed in to fill the void. I slipped out the back of the barn as Wes Jackson began rallying the crowd, walking numb into the rain. I finally made it back to my old Volvo Wagon, pulled out my typewriter, and wrote Wendell a long letter and six poems. Two weeks later, he responded. It was a brief appreciation that I will cherish forever. Mad Agriculture is wholly inspired by Wendell's Mad Farmer Poems. Thank you Wendell, for everything.