Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This Land Is Your Land…

My husband and I decided to chill last weekend so we watched a movie. Hmm, that’s weird my post last week started this way. Okay, there you have it—we like watching movies. It’s our thing.

This time we chose Promised Land. While it didn’t blow me away, I was surprised to find it was one of the few movies my husband and I have ever paused repeatedly to discuss. A high-powered corporate natural gas company is interested in Pennsylvania farmland. And they have their ways about securing the deal. Town members don’t know who to believe—a small-money enthusiastic environmentalist who’s telling them the grave risks of fracking or the likeable, eager proponents of natural gas.

The movie reminded me of the immeasurable power land can possess.

As my husband and I raised points relating to the dilemma in the movie I thought of the book Mudbound

I thought of my childhood days paddling an old fence my dad fashioned into a raft. I spent hours on our pond, giving “tours” as I rattled off fabricated names of trees and flora and fauna encircling me in abundance.

I thought of fields covered in bloodshed—wars ignited over land ownership.

A scene came to mind of an ongoing spat the main character in the novel I’m reading (Where’d You Go Bernadette) is having with her neighbor. (The Hatfields and McCoys have nothing on them.)

I thought of how even within my affluent town people are judged based on where they live—down to the street and acreage.

I thought of the homeless and the untouchable pride some folks have in property.

So, did I like the movie? I thought it was good and it got me thinking and you know how much I love that.

As I closed my eyes and tucked into bed lyrics from grade school funneled through all I’d been sifting through…

“This land is your land. This land is my land.
From California to the New York island; 
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters 
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway, 
I saw above me that endless skyway: 
I saw below me that golden valley: 
This land was made for you and me.”

And I thought of how we’re always complicating things down here—throttling the goods, choking them in the muck and the mire. I dreamed of how it’ll all be different one day. To step on that land—that land made for you and me.

Have you ever contemplating the worth you assign to land? Does it matter all that much to you? Can you imagine what it might feel like to have your land be everything to you?

“The battles he'd fought were the kind nobody cheers you for winning, against sore feet and aching bones, too little rain or too much, heat and cotton worms and buried rocks that could break the blade of a plow. Ain't never a lull or a cease-fire. Win today, you got to get up tomorrow and fight the same battles all over again. Lose and you can lose everything. Only a fool fights a war with them kind of odds, or a man who ain't got no other choice.” 
― Hillary Jordan, Mudbound

*photo by stock.XCHNG
**thoughts & prayers are with OK!


  1. You know, I'm living the single-girl-in-the-city life right now, so land per se isn't a top priority in my life. :) But man, it is crazy to me to think of how many wars throughout history started because of land...and because of our desire for ownership over something that was meant to be a gift in the first place...

  2. Yeah, Melissa, fun to see you here. Blogger was on the wonk yesterday so I'm encouraged to see you're able to comment.

    Yes, so crazy to think about the fight for land. I'm beginning to think a lot comes back to the idea of entitlement and how freeing it can be to let some things go.

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