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Top 450 Wendell Berry Quotes (2024 Update)
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Wendell Berry Quote: “When “husbandry” becomes “science,” the lowly has been exalted and the rustic has become urbane. Purporting to increase the sophistication of the humble art of farming, this change in fact brutally oversimplifies it.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “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 Quote: “For the true measure of agriculture is not the sophistication of its equipment the size of its income or even the statistics of its productivity but the good health of the land.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The constructions of language, which is to say the constructions of thought, are formed within experience, not the other way around.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “There are lots of bad things that can happen to a food economy that’s both extensive and centralized. There’s no substitute for petroleum. To have a growth economy based on a declining fuel supply is bound to be stressful.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Those thoughts come to me in the night, those thought and thoughts of becoming sick or helpless, of the nursing home, of lingering death. I gnaw again the old bones of the fear of what is to come, and grieve with a sisterly grief over Grandmam and Mrs. Feltner and the other old women who have gone before. Finally, as a gift, as a mercy, I remember to pray, ‘Thy will be done,’ and then again I am free and can go to sleep.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “What I am sure of is that we have lost the old apprehension of Nature as a being accessible to imagination, linking Heaven and Earth, making and informing the incarnate creation, and requiring of humanity an obedience at once worshipful, ethical, and economic.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The music, while it lasted, brought a new world into being.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “It is hard to say what it means to be at work and thinking of a person you loved and love still who did that same work before you and who taught you to do it. It is a comfort ever and always, like hearing the rhyme come when you are singing a song.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I came to see myself as growing out of the earth like the other native animals and plants. I saw my body and my daily motions as brief coherences and articulations of the energy of the place, which would fall back into it like leaves in the autumn.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “It surely is far better to be disliked by somebody you don’t love than by somebody you do. Even so, I mind. Even so, failing to love somebody is a failure.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “There appears to be a law that when creatures have reached the level of consciousness, as men have, they must become conscious of the creation; they must learn how they fit into it and what its needs are and what it requires of them, or else pay a terrible penalty: the spirit of the creation will go out of them, and they will become destructive; the very earth will depart from them and go where they cannot follow.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “As I have read the Gospels over the years, the belief has grown in me that Christ did not come to found an organized religion but came instead to found an unorganized one. He seems to have come to carry religion out of the temples into the fields and sheep pastures, onto the roadsides and the banks of the rivers, into the houses of sinners and publicans, into the town and the wilderness, toward the membership of all that is here. Well, you can read and see what you think.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “He went through the old motions of his life, taking care of what needed caring for, keeping mostly quiet about what was on his mind. But his hard waiting changed him; you could see it in his face.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The environment,” as we call it, is intimately with us. We’re in it. It’s in us. But also we are it, and it is us.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “To accept that there is nothing to do is to despair. It is to become in some fundamental way less than human. Those of us who are protesting are protesting in part for our own sake to keep ourselves whole as human beings.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “It is the man who can think of no alternative to his enslavement who is truly a slave.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “In health the flesh is graced, the holy enters the world.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “This religion that scorned the beauty and goodness of this world was a puzzle to me.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “You see, we don’t have enough sense to make these decisions. Somehow, you just get led to where you’re supposed to be, if you’re willing to submit.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I knew what he was doing. He was walking away from his thoughts but his thoughts were staying with him.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “And every day I am confronted by the question of what inheritance I will leave. What do I have that I am using up? For it has been our history that each generation in this place has been less welcome to it than the last. There has been less here for them. At each arrival there has been less fertility in the soil, and a larger inheritance of destructive precedent and shameful history.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “She would do a mans work when she needed to, but she lived and died without ever putting on a pair of pants. She wore dresses. Being a widow, she wore them black. Being a woman of her time she wore them long. the girls of her day I think must have been like well wrapped gifts to be opened by their husbands on their wedding night, a complete surprise. ‘Well! What’s this!?”
Wendell Berry Quote: “He nearly always seems steady, reined pretty tight. But it’s no trouble to look at him now and see that it has been a long time since he has been at rest in himself.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Aunt Beulah could hear the dust moats collide in a sunbeam.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “And if we ask what are the cultural resources that can inform and sustain a proper creaturely and stewardly awareness of the lives in a farmer’s keeping, I believe that we will find them gathered under the heading of husbandry.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “To owe what you had not yet earned, to have to work to earn what you had already spent, was a personal diminishment, an insult to nature and common sense.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “She was another gift, surely, to us all. She was a happiness that made me cry.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “But whatever you hope, you will find out that you can’t bargain with your life on your own terms. It is always going to be proving itself worse or better than you hoped.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Especially among Christians in positions of wealth and power, the idea of reading the Gospels and keeping Jesus’ commandments as stated therein has been replaced by a curious process of logic. According to this process, people first declare themselves to be followers of Christ, and then they assume that whatever they say or do merits the adjective “Christian”.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed. Connection is health. And what our society does its best to disguise from us is how ordinary, how commonly attainable, health is. We lose our health – and create profitable diseases and dependences – by failing to see the direct connections between living and eating, eating and working, working and loving.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I don’t remember when I did not know Port William, the town and the neighborhood. My relation to that place, my being in it and my absences from it, is the story of my life. That story has surprised me almost every day – but now, in the year 1986, so near the end, it seems not surprising at all but only a little strange, as if it all has happened to somebody I don’t yet quite know. Certainly, all of it has happened to somebody younger.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “The preserver of abundance is excellence.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Let tomorrow come tomorrow. Not by your will is the house carried through the night. Order is only the possibility of rest.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “White people who wished to think well of themselves did not use the language of racial insult in front of black people. But the problem for us white people, as we finally had to understand, was that we could not be selectively complicit. To be complicit at all, even thoughtlessly by custom, was to be complicit in the whole extent and reach of the injustice. It is hard for customary indifference to utstick itself from the abominations to which it tacitly consents.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “It just all of a sudden came over me, so that in one breath I was lost and a stranger, and in the next I was found.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I should ask, in the first place, whether or not I wish to purchase a solution to a problem that I do not have.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “It is the privilege and the labor of the apprentice of creation to come with his imagination into the unimaginable, and with his speech into the unspeakable.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “Do we, for instance, carry on our work in our nest or do we only reside and get our mail there? Is our nest a place of consumption only or is it also a place of production?”
Wendell Berry Quote: “CONCERNED AS HE is that the usable be put to use, that there be no waste, still there is nothing utilitarian or mechanistic about Mr. Lapp’s farm – or his mind. His aim, it seems, is not that the place should be put to the fullest use, but that it should have the most abundant life.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “People do not become wealthy by treating one another or the world kindly and with respect.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I have this love for Mattie. It was formed in me as he himself was formed. It has his shape, you might say. He fits it. He fits into it as he fits into his clothes. He will always fit into it. When he gets out of the car and I meet him and hug him, there he is, him himself, something of my very own forever, and my love for him goes all around him just as it did when he was a baby and a little boy and a young man grown.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “I recently attended a meeting at which an agricultural economist argued that there is no essential difference between owning and renting a farm. A farmer stood up in the audience and replied: “Professor, I don’t think our ancestors came to America in order to rent a farm.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “We’re living, it seems, in the culmination of a long warfare – warfare against human beings, other creatures and the Earth itself.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “There is a use for everyone.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “His home is the emblem of his status, but it is not the center of his interest or of his consciousness. The history of our time has been to a considerable extent the movement of the center of consciousness away from home.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “When I lived in other places I looked on their evils with the curious eye of a traveler; I was not responsible for them; it cost me nothing to be a critic, for I had not been there long, and I did not feel that I would stay. But here, now that I am both native and citizen, there is no immunity to what is wrong.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “To feel at home in a place, you have to have some prospect of staying there.”
Wendell Berry Quote: “To know that I was known by a new living being, who had not existed until she was made in my body by my desire and brought forth into the world by my pain and strength – that changed me. My heart, which seemed to have had only loss and grief in it before, now had joy in it also.”
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