Words from South Holland farmer

Organic farmer Andrew Dennis.
Organic farmer Andrew Dennis.
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And the dove came in to him in the evening; and lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

You know, I’d release a dove were this a land of doves and invest in her the hope of dry land. What would she bring, I wonder? A leaf, a particle of silt, a potato? Maybe she’d convey nothing? In the Biblical story Noah releases first a raven, and then the dove twice before it becomes clear to him the waters are receding. Life has become for him an exercise of patience.

As it is for us.

Believe me, the land is so wet. Crops remain unharvested. There’s drilling to be done. The fenland landscape’s resumed its former self. Marshland. We’re waiting, waiting.

To force the land would be to act against nature. We know this. Why do it? We’re waiting, waiting.

Prices climb. There are ineffable shortages. Sprouts, tates, cereals for bread, meat. We’re waiting, waiting.

You carry on in this moment of advent, of new beginnings. You have to…

Then frost comes and dries the land. Old Jack Frost with his beard of ice. Everything is suddenly white. There are redwings and curlew.

You start to plough. The land turns over, facing the sky. The furrows straight and deep as a miracle.

And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife and his sons’ wives with him.