Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.
And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we're asleep.
When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.
( "X" by Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir. © Counterpoint, 1998 )
I've been in awe of Wendell Berry's life and work for years. His resolute values on preservation of the land was well before the recent popularity of the same. He is appreciated by poets, farmers, believers in the sanctity of marriage and peacemakers alike. There is too much about and from Berry...so if interested, look him up -- this should be easy to do. Oh, I have a cousin who did a dissertation on Berry. This posting reminds me to see if it's available to read.
On the painter of "The Angelus" above:
I've loved this painting for many years so I want to mention how suited the painter's life was to the themes in Wendell Berry's poem above.
The painter of "The Angelus", Jean-Francois Millet, was born in 1814 in Gruchy, a hamlet a few miles west of Cherbourg in northwest France. holocaust horrors. )
Jean-Francois absorbed his father's appreciation of beauty and art. In his father he found an exemplar to emulate. Jean-Francois also was impressed by his parent's piety and devotion.
Jean-Francois adored his father, Jean-Louis, who loved music and directed the village choir. The painter's father also possessed real artistic talent -- studying plants and trees and modeling them in his rare moments not farming.
Early, the boy Jean-Francois traced prints and then did freehand from pictures in the family Bible. Before long his parents and the village priests recognized that his gift. The priests educated him in mythology, Greek, Latin, Shakespeare, Milton and Burns. Yes, Jean-Francois continued to work the family farm. Later, as a noted, cultured painter, Jean-Francois said of himself, "A peasant I was born and a peasant I will die."
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010):“And he shall sleep and arise by night and by day and the seed grows and lengthens while he is unaware.”