I remember the first time I dug in the dirt to plant a few seeds-watermelons-the care I tended them with and my total awe as they began to sprout. It was a thing of wonder and great mystery to me as I was only about five or six at the time, and I felt very protective of them.
I remember sneaking out on moonlit nights to sit in the midst of them and marvel at their very existence-it was a communion of sorts for me. I remember being caught by my mother once who rather than scold sat in the dirt with me making up a little song of gratitude to sing to them, and telling me that we as a people were no less rooted to the earth than they were and how proud she was of me-but she drew the line at my sleeping among them.
I would turn them from time to time as advised-kept them well watered and weeded-carried buckets of water and cut down the handle of an old hoe so I could wield it better and not bang myself in the head with it.
Assigned the job of protecting to them to the dogs we had at the time who took it seriously and slept near them in the night. So intent I was in this turning and inspecting my mother would laugh and say I was going to rub all the color off of them.
Miraculously they all made it to fruition, six or seven if memory serves, and even at that age I had a sense of accomplishment and contributing to the family-I provided something of value. Something wholesome and nutritious.
I remember selling two of them for fifty cents apiece and the tears in my mothers’ eyes when I gave her the money. I felt like a man- a provider, and I will never surrender that.
I remember as well the stinging ridicule of my father who said this same ignorance of warriors and farmers, that it was woman’s work and he didn’t know he had two daughters.
This from a man whose greatest contributions was on rare occasion to be sober, and finally to abandon us and the relief and peace that brought.
I went on a tear after that initial experience-even to cutting off carrot tops to place in a mayonnaise lid filled with water just to watch the stems grow. There was an acute sense of being connected in some manner I couldn’t define-a child’s understanding of an inter relatedness and an intrinsic knowledge that such efforts were good and honorable.
This digging in the dirt has never left me and I have yet to make any sense of those would say as a “warrior” they don’t “farm”. How as a warrior any would say it is better, more honorable to allow their children or love ones to be dependent on handouts and commodities, or do without.
What greater fight is there for any warrior than to tend to the physical and spiritual well being of his own? What man surrenders that as a matter of routine to any other? What man is more important than those he is responsible for?
Show me any who believes such as this and I will show you someone who is neither a man or a warrior.