Monday, April 2, 2007
I continue to read David Orr's Earth in Mind, but I took a side trip and read through Sharon Butala's The Perfection of the Morning. These books address and share similar topics, but the way the authors deliver the information to the reader is entirely different.
The first time I picked up Orr more than a year ago, I was taken aback by the way he challenged me to think about my education, my experiences and therefore my impact on our environment. He challenged me in such a way that I felt blind and ignorant, so much so that I stopped reading. For some reason, this second time around I'm better able to see things his way, and while I still hold myself responsible for the choices I make, I encourage myself to read on, to learn more, and continue to make changes. The book really isn't that long and it is made up of a series of essays that are concise and to the point.
Butala, on the other hand, shares with us her self-education and the formation of her relationship with Nature. She shows us, through detailed accounts of personal experience how her move from a city to a unique eco and social system deep within the Great Plains, was a catalyst of deep proportions that, for better or for worse, redefined her 'self'. I loved reading this book. I don't know if it because I too yearn for this 'self' that she describes or if I simply want to be closer to Nature.
Both books address change and how this change in people will directly and positively affect our world. I think the difference between the books might be as simple as gender. Where Orr prefers to use an academic, a conventionally and historically masculine approach to present his arguments, Butala presents her experiences in a narrative, almost in an oral tradition sort of way, in a way that I associate with the feminine. That's not to say that men don't write narratively or that women don't write formal essays. I think I'm just reflecting on how we are taught to write and research.
I highly recommend both books. They are different but yet they both leave you with a sense of hope.