This morning, when I checked The Daily Yonder's recent postings, I found that their June 9 piece was Jean Ritchie and the Value of Place...lessons on how we might all learn to value our cultures of place a little more. I'd like to believe than much of the central theme wasn't all that different than My Minnesota's "Diversity is the natural way to local." Tim Marema, author of the Jean Richie posting, concludes with these words:
"I believe the culture of place is important and valuable. It can be an asset, no matter where you are from. Ms. Ritchie’s unique role in preserving, promoting, and creating art about her place was one of the things that instilled this value in me. There are many of us around who are deeply grateful for that gift."Since I've recently returned from a Rural Arts and Culture summit, and have (almost) finished reading Lewis Hyde's The Gift, Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, references to gifts in the context of rural culture resonate strongly with me. Then there's always the Shaker song Simple Gifts, which nicely fits into the theme of rural gifts and place, I think, especially the lyric
"And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight,"
to which I would add Robin Wall Kimmerer's descriptions, from Braiding Sweetgrass and many of her other writings, of the earth's gifts to us as being a source of love and delight in a place just right.
whitetail deer feeding in back yard
Photo by J. Harrington
Yesterday we were lucky enough to receive several gifts from the earth, although not all of us received each of these gifts:
During afternoons and evenings like yesterday's, I realize what a gift it is to be able to live where I do. I hope each of you has someplace as special in your life because (from today's Twitter feed). Then you could go there and think about how little would have to be changed to turn Levitov's California into our Minnesota places.
- I saw the first monarch butterfly of the season in the back yard
- the Daughter Person was the only one of us who got to watch one of this year's fawns chase a cottontail rabbit around the yard
- my Better Half and I saw two yearling(?) whitetails help themselves to something I presume was tasty that's growing around the "wet spot" in the back yard
- as more and more wildflowers (invasive or indigenous) come into bloom, the area looks more and more attractive
Project Wild Thing
In California: Morning, Evening, Late January
Pale, then enkindled,lightadvancing,emblazoningsummits of palm and pine,
the dewlingering,scripture ofscintillas.
Soon the roarof mowerscropping the already shortgrass of lawns,
men with long-nozzledcylinders of pesticidepoking at weeds,at moss in cracks of cement,
and louder roarof helicopters off to sprayvineyards where braceros tryto hold their breath,
and in the distance, bulldozers, excavators,babel of destructive construction.
Banded by deepoakshadow, airyshadow of eucalyptus,
miner’s lettuce,tender, untasted,and other grass, unmown,luxuriant,no green more brilliant.
. . . .
At day’s end the whole sky,vast, unstinting, flooded with transparentmauve,tint of wisteria,cloudlessover the malls, the industrial parks,the homes with the lights going on,the homeless arranging their bundles.
. . . .
Who can utterthe poignance of all that is constantlythreatened, invaded, expended
and constantlyneverthelesspersists in beauty,
tranquil as this young moonjust risen and slowlydrinking lightfrom the vanished sun.
Who can utterthe praise of such generosityor the shame?
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.