Why we work.

As landscape architects, I think that we universally share a deep reverence for the land.

At least I hope so.

I hope that we haven’t gotten so bogged down by lists, organization, and numbers that we no longer remember why we do what we do.  Yes, I know…. I am starting to learn that numbers have their place and that the magic doesn’t happen without the tedious calculations and effort that bring our visions to life.  But without a feeling of purpose, of doing some good, then even the “magic” feels empty.

Wendell Berry’s writings have long been an inspiration to me. Like so many gifted poets, he takes the words right out of my mouth and makes them better.  As spring approaches and we get ready to dig into yet another summer of designing and building, let’s take a moment to remember why we are here, to think about the future we are creating for our children, and to feel gratitude for the good people who share this journey with us.

Work Song, Part 2:  A Vision

By Wendell Berry

If we will have the wisdom to survive,

to stand like slow growing trees

on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…

then a long time after we are dead

the lives our lives prepare will live

here, their houses strongly placed

upon the valley sides…

The river will run

clear, as we will never know it…

On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down

the old forest, an old forest will stand,

it’s rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.

The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.

Families will be singing in the fields…


native to this valley, will spread over it

like a grove, and memory will grow

into legend, legend into song, song

into sacrament.  The abundance of this place,

the songs of its people and its birds,

will be health and wisdom and indwelling

light.  This is no paradisal dream.

Its hardship is its reality.


  1. I’m late reading this lovely thoughtul piece. Thank you, Bailey for introducing me to Wendell Berry.

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