There is a treasure in our midst. It is the collective body of knowledge developed and furthered by our elders.
With the same certainty that fresh young faces appear on the scene with new ideas, unbridled enthusiasm, and a passionate zeal to make a difference, the elders of our community fade and vanish. Some are appropriately recognized, but all too often the very people who made the most significant contributions to advancing eco-farming first slow down, then semi-retire, battle health woes, and then follow the Biblical imperative “for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
With some of our elders, we see it coming; for others, we are blindsided.
It is up to the rest of us to remind new generations of the foundation of knowledge built by our elders. For centuries the preservation of knowledge in the form of the printed page in essence drove a stake into the ground and marked who did what and when.
If books flew at us all with the same frequency and velocity as our modern stream of information we would each be buried daily as if by stoning. One wonders if our elders will be appropriately remembered in an era when entire lifetimes can be erased by a single keystroke.
All the same, the curious will unearth the visionary work of our elders and share it. The self-promoters out there will take credit for others’ innovations. The important thing is that the work lives on, that there is continuous improvement and progress in most every area of arts and crafts.
We lament the loss of our friends and elders, but to an individual they would say that they didn’t do the hard work for the acclaim, they did it because it was the right thing to do. The did it for the love of their art, their craft. They did it for future generations.