A lovely description of a landscape as poetry in motion, slow sedimentary layers added by successive generations.  Maybe recent layers showing devastation of rich old forests and all round biodiversity will give way to more trees, plants and a wide range of species of both, together with the birds, bees, bugs and other living creatures who live alongside us.   

Our land is like a poem, in a patchwork landscape of other poems, written by hundreds of people, both those here now and the many hundreds that came before us, with each generation adding new layers of meaning and experience.  

Rebanks’ English Pastoral is a slim and quietly impassioned account of his family’s involvement in the transformation of farming from its age-old practice to a full on globalised industry with a number of doubtful outcomes, followed by an endeavour to move forward (not backward) to a more sustainable approach to farming.  It’s a succinct overview of the complexities of making that transition.  See our tribute to Rebanks’ earlier book, which touches on similar issues, A Shepherd’s Life. 

Source: James Rebanks, English Pastoral: An inheritance (London: Penguin, 2021), p. 197

Photo credit: Tim Hill at pixabay

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