The Way the Story Is Told

Two interesting perspectives on story-telling about the environment came out this weekend. In Orion, editor and novelist Kelpie Wilson contrasts the mythic approach to environmental disaster apparent in the Bible story of Noah’s ark and other accounts of the floods of 7600 years ago…with our present, science-based method of story-telling: How ironic then, that aContinue reading “The Way the Story Is Told”

Why We Must All Have An Opinion on Everything Today

A friend reminded me of a great essay by the novelist and short story writer Richard Ford on the subject of our velocitous life, which ran a few years ago in the NY Times. It’s long, so I’m going to post it below the fold, but know that it’s very much worth reading. Here’s the crucial quote:

Put simply, the pace of life feels morally dangerous to me. And what I wish for is not to stop or even to slow it, but to be able to experience my lived days as valuable days. We all just want to keep our heads above the waves, find someplace to stand. If anything, that’s our human nature.

And the State of the Union is…Denial!

My favorite enviro post on last week’s State of the Union address comes from Mark Lynas’ dazzling UK site, on which he writes: ‘First, congratulations to George Bush for facing up to the fact that America has an oil addiction problem. Any recovering addict knows that this recognition is the first step. George gets fewerContinue reading “And the State of the Union is…Denial!”

The Enlivening Beauty

In a Christmas day post I lauded an artist named Barbara Medaille and her landscape called For the Firefighters.

Because so many friends and readers responded to the painting, I followed up with a few questions, to which she graciously responded on the phone and in email. (The result is blended together in the continuation below the virtual fold below; as I told Barbara, if I got something wrong, she can just go to the comments and set me straight!)

"For the Firefighters" was a painting I’ve been waiting a good deal of my life to see. I encounter so many California landscapes that are pretty and representational, both of the beauty of our state and of its factual appearance, but fail to catch the underlying drama of our landscape. As Barbara says, California is far less stable and unchanging than it sometimes appears.

You can see this drama, I think, even in her landscapes which aren’t obviously threatening, such as this one, called West County: