Joy does suddenly, grabs you by the throat and shakes you. Depression lives like a beggar on your threshold so you have to step over it whatever you do; but contentment steals over you slowly so that the realisation dawns that you’ve actually been there some time. I was in the kitchen this morning making a coffee and mulling over the meaning of a word like ‘culture’ which means so much more than a poetry reading or a picture in a gallery, and as I looked around me and saw all our produce – some fresh, some in various stages of preservation, some needing attention today; it came into my mind that this season, above all others, gives space for contentment. Freed, as we have been from the constant worry over water logging, frost and snow in winter; urgent preparation of beds during the very late spring and the fiendish treadmill of watering during this summer’s drought, now it’s all comng together for a brief season when we’re eating the best there is, there’s time to consider and relish the cooking and eating of our produce and we’ve the time to relish it all and even contemplate a few days away. We booked three nights away in Rhandyrmwyn yesterday afternoon.
If you see culture as something that arises from our relationship with the earth and the seasons and only later developed into the forms we glibly use the term for, then it’s more clear that what begins in soil and seed and manual work, issues forth – in flowers – in cooking, song and story. The primitive is the seed for the whole plant, and the raw material of our whole way of life is there in the texture and smell of soil, hope and hard work. Our pseudo culture with all its artisan this-and-that is the factory processed poison that’s fed back to us by the greedy and perverse system that would rather regard us as intensively reared cattle.