This image of a worn hula hoe reminds me of a previous age when a man’s callouses were valued more than the car he drove or the clothes he wore; when what one produced and how he produced it meant more than what he consumed.
This photo is a poignant reminder of Wendell Berry’s novel, Jayber Crow. One of the characters, Athey Keith, is an aging farmer who knows his land. He has spent a lifetime intimately learning to understand its potency and limitations and he works it appropriately. He rotates crops, leaves portions fallow and uses animals rather than machines. Athey’s young son-in-law, Troy, eventually takes over the farm from the aging man. Troy modernizes the farm, relying on technology, chemicals and debt. Jayber summarizes Troy’s version of the farm, stating that it “was no longer a place you could see anybody’s pride or pleasure in.” I remember being filled with sadness for Athey. Like an abandoned and rusty hula hoe, Athey no longer fit in a rapidly changing world.
Photo taken with a Nikon D40x in Azusa, CA. Post in Capture NX2 and Photoshop.