The Names of Things – Front Porch Republic


I wrote about our farm for Front Porch Republic.  The essay is called “The Names of Things”


An old painting by John Miles of Northleach imagines Adam in the midst of naming all the animals in the Garden of Eden. Adam stands in the middle of the frame; the animals surround him waiting to receive their names. Unlike earlier versions that show Adam receiving just a few animals, Miles’ version captures the overwhelming scope of the task by lining up animals nose to tail back and forth across the scene like people waiting for the Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World or in an understaffed passport control line. I have been where that lion in the foreground is. Stuck in an absurd, unmoving line, he has let go of his mind. He is past frustration, rage, and tears. He lies down next to a lamb, not in supernatural peace or out of any interspecies fraternity, but out of pure, absolute resignation and ennui. The king of the jungle has been reduced to one direct and knowing look: “you see what I’m dealing with here, right?” his eyes dimly blink. The tiger behind him is even worse off. Drape the tiger’s paw over a dead body, and he is . . .

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