Crop Rotation

Crop rotation: (n) the system of varying the planting of successive crops

Sometimes I’m a bit saddened when a good idea sprouts to the surface.

It’s similar to when early farmers planted crops and the bounty was so immense that they planted them over and over and over again—until all the nutrients were drained from the soil and the returns became less and less and less.

Finally, someone realized that if they planted different crops for a while, they could come back and plant the original crop again and get fruitfulness from all.

In our day, a good idea will come along—shall we say, a fresh crop—and because it worked so well or was received with joy, it’s planted over and over again, until eventually it is so common that the impact it once had is gone.

It’s a little procedure that runs like this:

  1. The arrival of the great idea.
  2. The mass production by the imitators.
  3. The deterioration of the idea as the cheapskates come along and debilitate it.
  4. The cynics who mock the copycats, making us believe there was never a good idea in the first place.

Rotate your crops.

If something great happens, don’t assume it’s going to happen again. Isn’t that why we call it great—because it doesn’t happen all the time?

In the process of rotating your crops, you won’t get tired of corn because soybeans will need to be sold.

Likewise, you won’t get tired of love because it’s so plentiful.

America is a great idea. It’s not worn out.

But it would benefit us to rotate fresh concepts into our lives—so the beautiful topsoil of freedom can have a chance to build itself back up with the nutrients that truly do enable us able to say, “Hat’s off. This is great.”

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Crop

Crop: (n) the produce from the ground.

As the piercing tones of the political pundits wrangle with one another over decibel level, it never occurs to anyone that the United States of America cannot be compared to any other place, because unlike these other locations, this nation has a heart, a soul, a mind and a body.

Without understanding this, you begin to believe that you can nurture the mind of America while ignoring the heart, soul and body—or foolishly believe that you can honor the soul and ignore the other parts of innovation.

During my nearly thirty-five years of travel across the country, stopping off in villages, towns or bustling cities, I immediately understood the crop that comes from the soil of this great nation.

America has heart.

It has emotion. If you live on the coasts, you may think that the middle states are agrarian and backward. Matter of fact, there are people who would not even know what the word agrarian means because they consider it backward.

On the other hand, if you land somewhere deep in Nebraska, the antics of the West Coast may be discussed over the dinner table with a sneer and a frown, as those huddled around faithfully consume their biscuits and butter.

You cannot love this country, its people, its purpose, nor envision its destination without traveling to its heart, musing over its soul, mulling its mind and allowing the body to bring strength to the economics and the gross national product.

What is the crop of America?

  • Iowa believes it’s corn.
  • Silicon Valley in California would insist it’s technology.
  • The Ivy League schools on the East Coast would certainly extol the importance of higher education.
  • And those who dwell in the South will spend hours testifying of the importance of family, devotion and hospitality.

It is difficult for us to be at war with each other.

We need one another so intensely that we end up really fighting ourselves.

So when I drove my van into beautiful downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with corn fields and soybeans surrounding my journey, I knew I was in for an evening of warmth, reflection and conservative reaction to new ideas. They were never averse to progress—just wanted to make sure that no sacred lanes were destroyed to make super-highways.

When I went down to Lebanon, Tennessee, I was fully aware I was in for an evening of a probable potluck dinner, some hand clapping and folks who were frightened that they might lose the spirit of their faith by accepting too much of what, for them, seemed abnormal.

In a journey out to Palo Alto, California, surrounded by the students and faculty of Stanford University, my heart was engorged with the explosive energy of learning, experimenting and researching to find answers to problems that plague the populace.

And then, finding myself weeks later in New York City, I watched the ships come and go, feeding an economy which generates the crop of prosperity, making the whole landscape well-funded.

What is the crop of America?

It is the freedom to have a heart, a soul, a mind and a body—and to treasure each and every part.

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Corn

Corn: (n) a tall cereal plant having a jointed, solid stem and bearing the grain, seeds, or kernels on large ears.

I tried to get lost in America.

Many times.

Although I visited every large city, there were occasions in my touring, travels and interaction with the populace that I purposely placed myself deeper and deeper into smaller and smaller regions.

It was enlightening.

It was invigorating to drive down a country road at twilight and not see a building taller than two stories for ten miles in any direction.

What I could never escape was corn.

It’s everywhere.

I judged my tours by its growth.

I began each tour traveling when little, tiny green heads were barely popping out of the earth.  Matter of fact, someone would have to point out that the “field over there” was corn, because it looked like a promising acre of weeds.

Time passed.

I logged some more numbers on my odometer, and now the green weed was nearly knee high—often before the fourth of July.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But it still didn’t look like much.

More travel, more little towns. More diners which surprised me with a particular delicacy that tickled my fancy.

The corn just kept growing.

Pretty soon you could make out tiny ears sprouting, getting ready to hear further instructions from Mother Nature.

And then—all at once—there were huge fields of it in all directions. Corn stalks blowing in the breeze, chock-full of magnificent cobs, ready for the munching.

It was delicious.

But it was also forewarning—the warmth in the air was soon to be replaced, and traveling gypsies like me needed to find warmer climates, and spend my time watching the oranges grow.


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Commute

Commute: (v) to travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis.

Sitting around the room at a party last night with a bunch of friends and family, a young man piped up and said, “I evaluate people on whether they voted for this President. If they did I know they’re stupid.”

Well, truthfully, this article could be read forty years from now and it would still apply to someone who felt that way because “their” person did not make the White House.

I did not condemn the young man for his judgmental attitude. I didn’t try to convince him that he was wrong.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I did explain to him that he didn’t understand the mindset, simplicity and utter joy of small-town people all over America–who don’t have to commute an hour-and-a-half to go to work.

If they want a loaf of bread, they climb into their truck, drive down to the local market, where they spend much more time jabbering with their neighbors than getting their purchase. The trip back home takes no more than two minutes. There are no frayed nerves from traffic jams. There are no attitudes that the human race is full of assholes because they got cut off at the one stoplight in town.

It is much easier for them to be genteel.

But it’s also easier for them to be suspicious of the “big city ideas” trying to come in and take over.

When you live in a city where there’s a commute, you, yourself, develop a different pathway to sanity.

You may be more defensive.

You may be more interested in the government taking over matters of social order, since you don’t grow your own corn and soybeans.

You are not worse than the man or woman who lives in Iowa and only needs five minutes to get to their job or their barn.

You’re just different. Your perspective varies from theirs.

Wise is the soul who understands the simplicity of the village folk, and the struggle of those who commute.

 

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Background

Background (n) the circumstances or situation prevailing at a particular time or underlying a particular event.

“What’s your background?”Dictionary B

A very popular question.

I learned many years ago to dodge all inquiries which attempt to squeeze me into a favorable box.

Once people discover the roots of my nationality, the place of my birth, my chosen occupation and even my favorite color, for some reason, these nosy neighbors determine that they know enough about me to converse with me–or even market a product–in my direction.

I believe this is why we’re so juiced up on the idea of cultures and customs. Because once we determine that somebody is from Jamaica, then we are most assuredly confident that they must love reggae music.

So how difficult is it to be a rock and roll advocate and live in Jamaica?

How absolutely frustrating must it be to live in Wisconsin and have never eaten cheese?

Can you actually dwell in Iowa or Nebraska without having a running dialogue on raising corn?

The thing that makes us most uninteresting is the thing that we seem to pursue with great fervor.

“Let me shrink who you are so that who you are will fit into what I need you to be.”

So even as I watch the phenomenon of the gay community gaining credence in our society, television insists that all gay people speak with a lisp, love theater, cry at the drop of a hat and are basically snarky.

So what are we really achieving when we claim to be accepting of people–but we’re really only accepting of people when they arrive in large, definable clumps?

I will not tell you my background.

What I will share is my present footing and what I dream to be my foreground.

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