I love Barbara Kingsolver and her collection of essays, Small Wonder was no exception. She covers a wide variety of topics such as the aftermath of 9/11, parenting, television, biodiversity, growing food, and patriotism, and through them all she shines a light on what it means to live a full, meaningful, heartfelt life and how to make the best of our little bit of time here on earth. I think I love her writing so much simply because she puts into words so very well things that I have myself felt deeply. I especially appreciate her deep belief in biodiversity and community and the persuasive way in which she writes about these things. Barbara Kingsolver is a wonderful voice of hope and sanity in a world that often seems to me rather insane. I’ll leave you with a few quotes from the essays:
I wish all children could be taught the basics of agriculture in school along with math and English literature, because it’s surely as important a subject as these. Most adults my age couldn’t pass a simple test on what foods are grown in their home counties and what month they come into maturity. In just two generations we’ve passed from a time when people almost never ate a fruit out of season to a near-universal ignorance of what seasons mean… [T]he strategy of our nation is to run on a collision course with the possibility of being able to feed ourselves decently (or at all) in twenty years’ time. I can’t see how any animal could be this stupid; surely it’s happening only because humans no longer believe food comes from dirt.
I start fidgeting at any community meeting where the first item on the agenda is to discuss and vote on the order of the other items on the agenda; I have to do discreet yoga relaxation postures in my chair to keep myself from hollering, “Yo, people, life is short!”
Meanwhile, viewers are lured into assuming, at least subconsciously, that this “news” is a random sampling of everything that happened on planet earth that day, and so represents reality. One friend of mine argued… that he felt a moral obligation to watch CNN so he could see all there was and sort out what was actually true – as if CNN were some huge window thrown wide on the whole world at once. Not true, not remotely true. The world, a much wider place than seventeen inches, includes songbird migration, emphysema, pollinating insects, the Krebs cycle, my neighbor who recycles knitting-factory scraps to make quilts, natural selection, the Loess Hills of Iowa, and a trillion other things outside the notice of CNN. Are they important? Everything on that list I just tossed off is life or death to somebody somewhere, half of them are life and death to you and me, and you may well agree that they’re all more interesting than Monica Lewinsky. it’s just a nasty, tiny subset of reality they’re subsisting on there in TV land – the subset invested with some visual component likely to cause an adrenal reaction, ideally horror.
Outsiders can destroy airplanes and buildings, but only we the people have the power to demolish our own ideals.