Have you ever read something where the author articulated precisely the ideas that you’ve been trying to work out in your own mind for ages? Have you ever felt that flash of recognition, that chill of goosebumps, and obeyed that urge to nod along and shout “yes!” out loud? And once the giddiness subsides, have you ever felt that sinking realization that someone managed to conveyed those ideas better than you ever could have? I recently had that experience with a piece from Orion Magazine. “Out of the Wild” features a conversation between authors Michael Pollan and William Cronon as they chat about many of the ideas I’ve been grappling with on Ekostories: Concepts of nature and culture, the power of stories for change, the importance of personal sustainability. Regular readers will know that I’ve written a few essays on Pollan’s work, namely on Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education and The Botany of Desire, so it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed his contributions to this piece. But in my opinion it was Cronon, an environmental …
“But what, precisely, is hope? At a talk I gave last spring, someone asked me to define it. I turned the question back on the audience, and here’s the definition we all came up with: hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless.” (Derrick Jensen, Beyond Hope)
I referred briefly to the essay titled The Politics of Play: Seeking adventure in a risk-averse society in last week’s exploration of The Curious Garden, but I think it merits some attention of its own. In the piece, Jay Griffith argues that unstructured and free play (something that is increasing rare nowadays) is vital for helping children grow up into mature, sustainable, and resilient individuals capable of exercising sound judgement. I would like to share a couple of choice quotes:
“Here, I’ll prove to you that there are no tiny moments, no dull moments, no little things, only a general failure on our parts to see the wild and amazing slather of miracles that come unbidden and will for each of us, too soon end..” (The Slather) Published in the September/October 2012 issue of Orion Magazine, Brian Doyle’s incredible short story revolves around the small wonders that occur all around us, if only we can pause long enough to appreciate them.