I just had to share the joy I experienced today when I learned that one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, has a new book due out on May 1st. It's called, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and rest assured that I will have it in my hands as soon as possible.
I have Alice Walker's latest, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness in my possession currently and highly recommend it. It's beautiful!
Both of these authors are best known for fictional novels, but I prefer their non-fiction, particularly their essays and poetry. Read Barbara’s Small Wonder and Another America/Otra America and read Alice’s Living by the Word and Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth.
I've been reading various works by Zora Neale Hurston on and off recently and while reading some of her memoirs (Dust Tracks on a Road), I've come to feel a strong kinship to her. She was raised in the same place that I was, only 10 miles from my home, albeit nearly 100 years earlier and under very different circumstances; but her love of that beautiful place mirrors mine. I cried while reading her loving descriptions of the woods, rivers, and plant-life of Central Florida. It made me very homesick. I was blessed that the neighborhood where I grew up was bordered by woods on two sides, a lake on one, and orange groves on another. We were also a very short distance from the Atlantic Ocean. We also had a very large vegetable garden and many many flowers in our yard. I spent many happy years playing in those woods and catching catfish in that lake and swimming in that ocean. By the time we moved west when I was 16, we were bordered by huge subdivisions on each side that were named after the beauty that had been bulldozed to make way for monstrous hideous houses. My brothers and I spent a lot of time rescuing wildlife, particularly box-turtles from the crushing developments and housing them in our backyard (much to my mother's dismay), which should explain why I am very interested in the welfare of animals to this day.
I become particularly bitter when people who have never spent any real, quality time exploring the exquisite beauty and history of my home state, have only negative things to say and make it obvious that the only thing that they experienced there were bugs and humidity and ghastly tourist traps. It's your own fault if you chose to experience only those things, just don't share it with me because it's one of the things I have a tendency to carry a grudge about. Seriously. Judging my beautiful home by the tacky-Yankee-made-wonder-hole known as Disney World is the same as judging the entire state of Nevada by the Vegas strip. Maybe you do, but that's your small minded problem and not mine. I love Florida very much and will never verbally claim any other place as my home, nor will I allow you to speak ill of it.
I find that most of my favorite authors have a deep love for nature and the environment. They all seem to understand our deep connectedness to the earth and the importance of creating and maintaining a close relationship with it. I have always felt deeply connected to nature and have been spending more of my free time experiencing it firsthand, appreciating it, conserving it and sharing it with my family. Our weekly hikes are quickly becoming a family institution. We have such a great time while we explore the state together. We also sort our recycling together, garden together, and swap info on new and better ways to conserve and protect our environment and to help slow global warming.
One of my dear sisters was wise to point out to me that the commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to “…multiply and replenish the earth..” (Genesis 1:28), has only been halfway heeded. We have definitely multiplied, but we also have the commandment to “replenish the earth” The earth is our responsibility.
Think about it.