Another “terror attack” has been carried out on US soil. As of this writing, the powers that be won’t say if it originated overseas or domestically. Hell, they won’t even officially call it a terrorist attack. But to me, when you detonate bombs in crowds of people, that’s terror. It’s an eerie, awful, surreal feeling to watch the footage on the newscasts. I can’t imagine anyone except for the very young, or the pathologically naïve, thinking this wasn’t coming. They happen like clockwork, but the knowledge of inevitability doesn’t make these kinds of nightmare scenarios any more bearable.

It’s tough for me—suburban-raised, liberally educated, fully entitled to the best American life has to offer—to understand the desire to injure or kill random people. I can only imagine this kind of violence requires a deep and abiding sense of anger, self-righteousness, or both. I suppose it isn’t for me to comprehend. My deepest sympathies rest with the people who have been injured, and with the families who have lost loved ones.

Back to the Land

Here on the farm, the winter crops are producing. We’re regularly harvesting peas and radishes, and the mustard greens, chard, and beets are starting to provide food. The corn, beans, and squash are barely poking up through the warming soil, and the greenhouse is bursting with starts for warmer season crops: tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers.

I’m learning an awful lot out here about the soil, and water, and about how to work steady and hard without working myself into an early grave. There are many instances of great satisfaction, but also times when I’m not so sure. I’m often confronted with the fact that I barely know what I’m doing. Sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing. Even worse, occasionally I think I know what I’m doing, but it turns out I do not. There are moments of complete panic, frustration, and fear.

My dad is getting older, and it seems he may be succumbing to the fear. He told me recently he was glad Trish and I are out here living on a fairly good-sized piece of land, because he is afraid the world’s economy is going to collapse. I don’t know how far he’s really thought this through. Trish and I are in the process of planning an underground pub, and focusing great energy on establishing an orchard for the sole purpose of making hard apple cider. I’m not sure how long we’d survive the apocalypse, or how long we’d want to, but we’ll have as much fun as we can doing it.

Terrorist attacks aside, I’m not a great fan of the fear. It’s not that I can’t envision economic collapse, or environmental ruin, but what’s the point in getting paranoid about it all? Whatever shall be shall be. We live our lives, we do the best we can, and we carry on. What other choice do we have?

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.