On Manure

“They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.”          Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Hemingway understood manure because he was a writer who understood country things. City people do not use the word manure because manure is a country word. They use a profanity instead of “manure” because they don’t understand it and have no respect for it.

Country people are familiar with manure and many understand and respect it they way you respect things that are necessary and useful. It might add a burden to your life but you respect it, like your third grade teacher who makes you memorize your multiplication tables.

Cow manure mulch is the most common garden-fertilizer because it is inexpensive and works very well, though I have a friend who earns part of her living as a gardener and she refuses to use any manure except alpaca manure that she has to drive a ways to purchase at a small town in the foothills. Sometimes we are too particular with the things we care about.

Hemingway was very particular about his writing. He understood manure as he understood many things and could write well about them, but this ability did not seem to help him in the end.


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