to go into soil…

It’s the story, the biography of the field beneath my feet… English settlers imposed their acres on a land that before they arrived had flowed from sea to sea, joyfully free of measurement. (…) The acre’s residents; plants, trees, and animals are familiar miracles but while their story unfolds above ground, there is another running concurrently, in the soil beneath vision… microscopic solarless system of bacteria, fungi, and tiny invertebrates on their billions… unfamiliar wonders beneath our feet. To go into soil, the real thing, not the sterile pool that modern agriculture has turned into a parking lot for crops is to step into the word land. Soil is a living mat. An ounce of the acre’s dirt, hardly enough to fill a child’s palm, is a nation of relationship that we no more understand than we know the people in a city we fly over. There is not such thing as an individual in nature. Inside every seeming bit of independence, life is a colony of co-dependents.

From Jenkins, P. (2001). An acre of time. New York : Paperback. p. 26.

Phil Jenkins

Phil was born in London, England on June 15th, 1951, the day rock and roll began. He moved to Canada to embark on a career of selling English, both as writer and performing songwriter. In 1991 he published Fields of Vision: A Journey to Canada’s Family Farms, a national bestseller. Three books followed; An Acre of Time, River Song: Sailing the History of the St. Lawrence River, and Beneath My Feet: The Memoirs of George Mercer Dawson. He has written for newspapers and magazines, including Canadian and National Geographic. Since 1991 he has been a freelance columnist for the Ottawa Citizen. He writes from a straw bale house in the Gatineau Hills of west Quebec.

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