Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love the place you're at!

Happy Valentine's Day! Although it's not quite the same as a valentine, the Nature Conservancy gave me a pleasant surprise in the current issue of their magazine. I want to share parts of it with you as our valentine and a reminder that we need to care about places as well as people.

Valentine's evening sky 2013
Photo by J. Harrington

Amanda Fiegl wrote, and Stan Fellows illustrated, an article titled Writers By Nature. Here's a list of the writers, their writing, and the places written about that were mentioned in the article:
  • John Steinbeck -- East of Eden -- Gabilan Mountains, California

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson -- The Adirondacs -- Adirondack Mountains, New York

  • Ernest Hemingway -- NA -- Ketchum, Idaho

  • Willa Cather -- My Antonia -- Nebraska Prairie

  • Rachel Carson -- The Edge of the Sea -- New Harbor, Maine

  • Wallace Stegner -- Crossing to Safety -- Greensboro, Vermont

  • T.C. Boyle -- When the Killing's Done -- Channel Islands, California

  • Annie Dillard -- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek -- Blue Ridge Mountains

Poet's Corner

  • W.S. Merwin

  • Carl Sandburg

  • William Weaver Christman
It came as a pleasant surprise to see that I've read at least something, if not the work listed, by most of these authors. In a different kind of surprise, I've always associated Sandberg with Chicago, but he's listed at his family farm in Flat Rock, North Caroline. I'm delighted to see two New England locations listed (Vermont and Maine) but disappointed to find Minnesota missing. (I think that's due to a lack of alignment between Minnesota writers and Conservancy activity locations here.) I need to, and will, add Cather and Stegner to my short list of folks to read this year. I also want to do some research and see if I can learn why there's no listings for Edward Abbey and the Southwest; or Beston and/or Melville and Cape Cod and/or the Islands of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard or the Elizabeth's.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

By Simon Armitage
Compiling this landmark anthology of poetry in English
about dogs and musical instruments is like swimming through bricks.
To date, I have only, “On the Death of Mrs. McTuesday’s Pug,
Killed by a Falling Piano,” a somewhat obvious choice.
True, an Aeolian harp whispers alluringly
in the background of the anonymous sonnet, “The Huntsman’s
      Hound,”
but beyond that — silence.

I should resist this degrading donkey-work in favor of my own
      writing,
wherein contentment surely lies.
But A. Smith stares smugly from the reverse of the twenty pound
      note,
and when my bank manager guffaws,
small particles of saliva stream like a meteor shower
through the infinity of dark space
between his world and mine.


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