I can’t always find my people.
Then I open a book and there they are. I see it in the pages. In the words. My people are Wendell Berry. My people are John Seymour. My people are Janisse Ray. My people are Kelly Coyne and Eric Knutzen. My people are Christopher Hitchens. My people are Masanobu Fukuoka. My people are Toby Hemenway. My people are Harvey Ussery. My people are Joel Salatin. My people are Craig Childs. My people are Carl Sagan.
Their words fill me up and energize me and connect me and make me hope. They give me purpose. They make me feel like I’m coming home for the first time. I look around with despair. “Does anyone else feel the way I do?” Then I find the pages and I know.
There are others, then, out there. Rallying. Some of them are dead. Yet despite my sadness that they are no longer in this world but only of it, I know that they did not go quietly into that good night. They left a paper trail of subversiveness. They left instructions for how to live. Fukuoka tells me to plant. Hitchens tells me to turn ideas. Seymour tells me to practice community. Sagan tells me to look beyond the magical to see reality and its infinite beauty. I will never meet these men, not on earth nor in a heavenly room. They are gone. All will follow. One day, so will I.
But I have their words. And that’s all I need to make my own to leave behind.
“We have no place to start but where we are.” -Wendell Berry