I’m getting ready to head out to the annual retreat of the Black Earth Institute, where I have the honor of being a Senior Fellow this year. It’s always an extraordinarily inspiring weekend, with powerful presentations by Fellows on their work in progress, hard-hitting and urgent conversations, and, not least, memorable wine from BEI founder Patricia Monaghan‘s homegrown organic grapes. How fitting a way to acknowledge this time of rich, succulent early-October ripeness.
It was at BEI that I met Christina Eisenberg, which that ultimately to my writing the play “Wolf Song.” The theme of our readings for this year’s discussions is “Hope and Renewal”; who knows where this year’s conversations may lead?
This year, one thing I plan to talk about is my passionate belief in the ideas expressed in this talk by James Howard Kunstler. Kunstler’s book THE GEOGRAPHY OF NOWHERE was what I was reading when I gave birth to my daughter. That book seemed to point the way to a more inhabitable world.
It’s easy to live in the head and forget the importance of the physical. Poetry, particularly the rhythms of of formal poetry, reminds me constantly that the physical IS the spiritual–and in the last few months, as I’ve been getting back into doing yoga after a long hiatus, I’ve been reminded that this is true in every sphere, not just that of poetry. And it seems to be, in turn, the gist of Kunstler’s urgent message for the architecture of our public realm.
Poetry, yoga, the built environment: sphere inside sphere, all working towards greater balance and harmony. It’s a challenging time right now for all of us on the planet–but what beautiful, and increasingly sustained, glimpses we keep getting into more hopeful and renewing ways of living.