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Those of us committed to the Midwest and its literature can and should mourn the damages done to our region by our habits of transience. But we must also recognize, as these two books help us do, that it is not just the Midwest, but life itself, that is “fluid and impermanent.”
At the heart of Gracy Olmstead's book is the conviction that roots do not just serve the individual person or plant—they also are vital to the health of one’s soil, place, and neighbors.
Even in the midst of this sad era of cold, objective ambition, the possibility of grateful participation in the cosmic life of creation remains for each of us.
Anyone who seeks to live with integrity in a place ought to seek to know it deeply, yet such knowledge carries with it the risk of disillusionment. It is hard, not in principle but in daily experience, to continue to find joy and beauty in a place one knows to be riven by abuse and injustice.
Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio on place, the evangelical mind, and classical music.
If a human timescale—privileging our experience and our hopes—is insufficient to understand the forest, then maybe we will be provoked to reconsider both the human and forestal timescale.