A Tribute to the Land

Victor Davis Hanson has written the story of the land his ancestors worked for 140 years.  It's an interesting story, and you can see the feeling that motivates him very clearly in it.  In spite of his sense of loss, though, he has an appreciation for the marvels of new creation:
This winter I watched a new owner of the farm parcel next to mine bring in enormous Caterpillar equipment and land-levelers. He ripped out every living tree and bush. He changed the very contours of the land, flattening even the once rolling hills. Within days, arose a postmodern almond orchard of some 40 acres.

I say postmodern because the new creation is beyond modern. High-density-planted new trees are genetically designed to grow on these sandy soils. The drip system is computerized and injects precise amounts of fertilizers, while not wasting a drop of precious well water. An ancestral pond and its overflow basin have now shrunk to about an acre. The result is that the almond trees — not more than six months old — are growing so rapidly that they appear as if they were supernatural and in their second or third leaf. It is agribusiness development such as this that explains why California farmland is the most productive in the world.


Eric Blair said...

Yeah, I read that. Interesting insight into his thinking.

douglas said...

You have to see things that way, or you'll just get bitter. Change is comin' whether you like it or not, so hope for some good to be in it, and celebrate that. Here, I see all too often the anti-development folks trying to freeze the community in amber because that's how they like and remember it, and they fear and detest change. I've had enough of that. I deeply respect Mr. Hanson's melancholy recollections paralleled with his appreciation of the new development. It's refreshing.