It's an old idea in psychology. Humans contain impulses towards death, and impulses towards life. The world's pretty much made out of life and death, so no surprise there. When the impulse towards death predominates, though, illness and violence result.
In recent months, I've asked myself why we run this Hawthorn Farm experiment. Why spend the long hours scraping chicken poo off nest boxes, fielding well-intentioned but not-always-helpful visitors, weeding and pruning and washing?
Here's why: Among all the people I've known who have died, the most common cause of death is suicide. I can't speak to anyone's personal motives, but to me it seems a symptom of a big cultural story lacking in beauty and connection.
Reading The Healing Code of Nature by Clemens G. Arvay, with that tidbit about the life-and-death balance of human psychology, put my work in perspective for me. I farm, I plant fruit trees, I work with horses, in order to search for a world worth living for. Hawthorn Farm is one tiny answer to suburban isolation and despair. The beauty around me gladdens my own soul. It keeps me alive, literally and figuratively.
I can't lie to young people: this world is in dire straits. There may not be any hope in the long run for any of us. But there is for me, right now, and you too. Come milk the goats with me. Come eat the snap peas in the garden. Set down the video games and take the reins to these eager ponies. Life is worth living. It's not easy, but it's worthwhile.