“Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste,” said Buddha. If that sounds like nonsense, then read on as I tell you how I and my wife, Janet, came to do nothing with our farm, on purpose. It might help you understand what Buddha had in mind.
At Saint Vincent’s, every class period began with a simple prayer. “Let us remember,” I would say, and the class would reply, “that we are in the holy presence of God.”
Bill Pody was our love guru. He drank twelve Pepsis a day, smoked three packs of Marlboros, and occasionally ate — usually a cheeseburger. He was forty-one. He lived in a lime green trailer next to a short, concrete silo. From my farm we could see the silo presiding over Pody’s hill.
Larry couldn’t stop thinking of Mrs. Foster. He thought he must be in love with her. He never raised his hand in any class except hers. The other teachers didn’t seem to care whether he answered questions or not. Even as they listened to his answers, they seemed to be thinking only of the next question, or staring impassively into space. But Larry could actually feel Mrs. Foster listening. If he was giving an especially good answer, her smile would get larger and larger, and when he was finished she would raise her finger and whirl it in triumph.
Four miles up a logging road in the Coast Range of southern Washington, there used to be a stand of ancient spruce and hemlock. On all sides of it were enormous clear-cuts — skidder-scarred, slash-burned, and replanted in the late sixties with the two-foot-tall monocrop the U.S. Forest Service and other logging companies like to call “trees.” Just across the road to the south was a thousand-foot-high, two-mile-long ridge that had also been clear-cut. In 1971, my big brother, Everett, and his fellow Wahkiakum County Work Camp cons — Vietnam draft resisters and illegal aliens, most of them — replanted this vast ridge.