Thursday, October 27, 2011

Small Wonder

"Small Wonder" by Barbara Kingsolver
This is a book of essays written after September 11, 2001. At dark, frightening time in our nations history. The essays focus on what we still have and all the small wonders of this world. There is a lot I do not agree with in this book but there is also a lot that made me think and made me realize what we do have and how precious it is. "More than half of all humans now live in cities. The natural habitat of our species, then, officially, is steel, pavement, streetlights, architecture, and enterprise." This is not what I want for my children. This is why my family often is at the lake, or rivers, or parks or camping or at our cabin. I want my girls to know the changing color of leaves, the sound of a stream over rocks, to feel a slimy fish, hear a bird sing, feel the tickle of grass, the cool of a river and so much more. This is where I find God and I hope they do too. "If life must be a race to use up everything we have, who exactly will win that race?" Certainly, I think, not us. I am trying to teach my girls that less is more, that there are a lot of things that we don't 'need'. "It's going to demand the most selfless kind of love to do right by what we cherish, and to give it the protection to flourish outside our possessive embrace." Isn't this what we have to do with our children? I agree that we also have to do this with nature, we don't own it, we are its caretakers and in that we can't always think how it will benefit us but how we can help it thrive. "For every farm that's turned over to lawns and housing developments, a farmer is sent to work at the Nissan plant or the Kmart checkout line. What's lost with that career move is specific knowledge of how to gain food from a particular soil type, in a particular climate-wisdom that took generations to grow." Wisdom that I want to pass on to my children. "Now we may learn, from the taste of our own blood, that every war is both won and lost, and that loss is a pure, high note of anguish like a mother singing to an empty bed." With every war there are losses, losses of lives extinguished too soon. "We live in the only rich country in the world that still tolerates this much poverty in the midst of that much wealth." Why do we tolerate it and how can we fix it? Those are my questions and also, what can I do? "If I got to make just one law, it would be that the men who make the decisions to drop bombs would first, every time, have to spend one whole day taking care of a baby. We are not made to do this killing thing, I swear. Back up. It's a big mistake." No we were not made to kill, every life is precious but it is so much more complicated than that, isn't it? I enjoyed this book for the questions it posed and the thoughts it made me think. I will be taking a better look at the world around me and all of it's small wonders.

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