Wendell Berry Quotes

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Wendell Berry

Berry and solar panels on his farm in Henry County, Kentucky, December 2011
Born (1934-08-05) August 5, 1934 (age 82)
Henry County, Kentucky, U.S.
Occupation Poet, farmer, writer, activist, academic
Nationality American
Education University of Kentucky (B.A; M.A., English, 1957)
Genre Fiction, poetry, essays
Subject agriculture, rural life, community

All right, every day ain't going to be the best day of your life, don't worry about that. If you stick to it you hold the possibility open that you will have better days.
Wendell Berry
The latest technology is not always good for anything except to the producers of the technology.
Wendell Berry
If we can't afford to take good care of the land that feeds us, we're in an insurmountable mess.
Wendell Berry
To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
Wendell Berry
For any sin, we all suffer. That is why our suffering is endless.
The old and honorable idea of 'vocation' is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted.
Wendell Berry
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
Wendell Berry
We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.
Wendell Berry
The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.
Wendell Berry
Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
Wendell Berry
Why should conservationists have a positive interest in… farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat.
Wendell Berry
If I was freer than I had ever been in my life, I was not yet entirely free, for I still hung on to an idea that had been set deep in me by all my schooling so far: I was a bright boy and I ought to make something out of myself… something else that would be a cut or two above my humble origins.
Wendell Berry
When you are new at sheep-raising and your ewe has a lamb, your impulse is to stay there and help it nurse and see to it and all. After a while, you know that the best thing you can do is walk out of the barn.
Wendell Berry
The primary motive for good care and good use of the land-community is always going to be affection, which is too often lacking.
Wendell Berry
I prayed like a man walking in a forest at night, feeling his way with his hands, at each step fearing to fall into pure bottomlessness forever. Prayer is like lying awake at night, afraid, with your head under the cover, hearing only the beating of your own heart.
Wendell Berry
It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.
To hear of a thousand deaths in war is terrible, and we 'know' that it is. But as it registers on our hearts, it is not more terrible than one death fully imagined.
Wendell Berry
I'm a writer more than I am a talker.
These are people who are capable of devotion, public devotion, to justice. They meant what they said and every day that passes, they mean it more.
Wendell Berry
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
Wendell Berry
If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature.
Wendell Berry
The only time I've been arrested was in opposing the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in Indiana. That was in 1979.
Wendell Berry
The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.
Wendell Berry
Whether we or our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
Wendell Berry
It is a horrible fact that we can read in the daily paper, without interrupting our breakfast, numerical reckonings of death and destruction that ought to break our hearts or scare us out of our wits.
Wendell Berry
I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.
Wendell Berry
We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?
Wendell Berry
Industrial agriculture characteristically proceeds by single solutions to single problems: If you want the most money from your land this year, grow the crops for which the market price is highest.
Wendell Berry
There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places. My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts.
Wendell Berry
The uplands of my home country in north central Kentucky are sloping and easily eroded, dependent for safekeeping upon year-round cover of perennial plants.
Wendell Berry
To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.
I've had a good life, and was born to and among people I've admired and loved.
Wendell Berry
An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or a global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment.
Wendell Berry
This, I thought, is what is meant by 'thy will be done' in the Lord's Prayer, which I had prayed time and again without thinking about it. It means that your will and God's will may not be the same. It means there's a good possibility that you won't get what you pray for. It means that in spite of your prayers you are going to suffer.
Wendell Berry
We're all complicit in the things we may be trying to oppose. I'm complicit in the things that I'm trying to oppose.
Wendell Berry
Urban conservationists may feel entitled to be unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers. But they can't be let off so easily, for they are all farming by proxy.
Wendell Berry
The two great aims of industrialism – replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy – seem close to fulfillment.
Wendell Berry
Annual plants are nature's emergency medical service, seeded in sounds and scars to hold the land until the perennial cover is re-established.
Wendell Berry
We cannot comprehend what comprehends us.
The fertility cycle is a cycle entirely of living creatures passing again and again through birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay.
Wendell Berry
The atmosphere, the earth, the water and the water cycle – those things are good gifts. The ecosystems, the ecosphere, those are good gifts. We have to regard them as gifts because we couldn't make them. We have to regard them as good gifts because we couldn't live without them.
Wendell Berry
We cannot know the whole truth, which belongs to God alone, but our task nevertheless is to seek to know what is true. And if we offend gravely enough against what we know to be true, as by failing badly enough to deal affectionately and responsibly with our land and our neighbors, truth will retaliate with ugliness, poverty, and disease.
Wendell Berry