A few centuries ago, this
long, lovely land, this warm green finger of North American was in every sense a natural paradise, and those who inhabited
this paradise depended on it to provide their living without destroying it. The Crackers and cow hunters of Florida worked
with nature not against it, respecting and nurturing the land and it’s creatures – a hallowed devotion handed
down generation to generation.
Then, a subtle greediness
crept in with land developers, who destroyed the gentleness, the holiness of the land.
We, as a people, have been
slow in recognizing and realizing the depth of the carnage we have allowed to spread over this rich land. Truth is, it’s
all come about in just shy of one century. Because of what we’ve done – or not done – it’s agonizing
to even think of the hopes and reams that won’t come true.
If we don’t come
to terms with the pillage we’ve inflicted on the land, it’s water and air and agriculture in general… we’ll
be in more trouble than we can even comprehend.
Like the little child that
leads us, this documentary can wake us to the devastation we have caused – and to vow that we can and will restore at
least – in part – this land of the free and home of the brave.
Dramatically and beautifully
photographed, “Cracker – the last cowboys of Florida”, documents their work, their play, their families,
their very belief in the good earth.
All is not lost…
yet. But all will be lost if we refuse to see and feel what we’ve already done. The subculture of Florida Crackers lives
not only on the land, but with the land, with the cattle, with the horses and with everything that goes with ranching. A Crackers’ life encompasses arduous work from sunup to sundown, but also includes
the wonders and beauty to the land.
Each of us can contribute
to save the greatest country on earth, but only if we are determined to do so, remembering that time is limited.
must not be a eulogy for a way of life that is rapidly fading away.
Nov. 19, 2007 ~ Barbara Oehlbeck