Reaping what we sow
I wish to express my appreciation of Tony Vagneur’s latest column, about the legendary Johnny Appleseed (“Man of the seeds,” Oct. 14, The Aspen Times).
The story is a great metaphor, or parable, for religious evangelism — with John Chapman, or “Johnny,” bearing the name of John the Baptist, who ate locusts and wild honey while sowing spiritual seeds in the wilderness, and of John the Evangelist, who endeavored to shine a light in the darkness. Setting out to domesticate the wilderness and nurture the world (or intoxicate it, via hard cider), Johnny was a man on a mission.
It saddens me to think that the dominant metaphor for our own post-modern world is not the planting of seeds, but abortion. Culturally, as well as literally, we are aborting ourselves, swept up in a virulent oikophobia — an intense dislike of all things Western, things we used to associate with “home.” As William Butler Yeats put it a century ago, the worst of us are filled with a passionate intensity, while the best lack all conviction.
Anyway, my thanks to Vagneur for evoking shadows of our past and forcing us to ponder our present and future. He’s really good at that.
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