Water, water everywhere! It’s a blessing after last summers’ brown yards and high water bills, but it seems hard to believe desperate we were for any moisture just last year. As the second oldest in a farm family, I have never lost my concern for crop production, as the need for food for people and animals remains in my thought process. I love my flowers and budding trees, but know more importantly that our food supply is a risky and unpredictable business.
So as I was wandering through the book review process last week, I pulled a few books that reminded me of years when things didn’t go so well, and was relieved that our rules of book weeding allows them to remain. These books contain historical accounts and good practices that may again impact our futures.
These books dealt with farming practices that were studied to save our good soils, while the other book gave the history of the farm crisis of the 1980’s. The two books: Farming is in our Blood written by Paul C. Rosenblatt, and Farmland or Wasteland: a Time to choose, by R. Neil Sampson, reminded me somberly of lessons learned and then forgotten. It’s the reason these books remain on our shelves, it is important for them to be read as time fades our memories.
As our farming communities surround us, and we have a few days before the fields can get planted, it isn’t a bad idea to consider reminding ourselves of realities that we sometimes forget. I can still hear the despair in my parents voices as they struggled during those years, trying to make it through a year of high interest rates that were impacting their survival, even as frugal and careful as they had always been. As a college student at the time, I felt helpless to assist, but contemplated steps I might take to help. It taught me some vital lessons about not overloading on debt and being careful about saving for an uncertain future.
As much as I too want the rain to spread itself out a bit more to allow time to work in the yards, plant some seeds, and get crops in the fields, I am reminded how vital it is to replenish our earth. We don’t think about how valuable our water is, until we read about communities with worse troubles. In the book Deep Water, by Jacques Leslie, there is a serious discussion about the dams that are controlling water around the world. As I looked at this book, I realized we are not at as much risk here as those whose survival depends on the Hoover Dam, but there are still the catastrophes that affect us all. I feel lucky to live in Iowa, but know that even within our state the flooding can destroy a dam, and impact us all.
Another book, written by Mariana Gosnell, called Ice: The Nature, the History and the Uses of an Astonishing Substance, reminds us that ice, another form of water, provides a totally different, but important role. As winter seemed to drag on an exceptionally long time, I was thinking about the ice caps, glaciers and snow caps that have been melting, and wondering if this year we might slow the loss of these essential parts of our environment. I haven’t read these books in entirety, but was thinking about the importance of books like these. We sometimes get so busy we forget the value of history and research that helps us prepare for those circumstances. These books have vital messages, and reminds me why our non-fiction collection is so important. It helps us to understand things that impact the economy, our society and our everyday lives. It makes our lives easier when we can access the education and knowledge that will help us move forward and assist the futures of our children and our communities.