Archive for August, 2012

One thing I noticed shaping my perception of my trip to Kansas City was my recent reading of William Cronon’s “The Trouble With Wilderness.”  It’s a key essay in environmental history that apparently generated a lot of controversy when it came out.  It makes the argument that the idea of wilderness in American history has been harmful to the extent that we think of wilderness as pure, unspoiled, and something that we ruin by our presence.  It’s made us value nature only (or especially) when we perceive it as wild, untamed, or untouched.  In this view, though, as soon as we enter the picture, nature is irretrievably damaged.  (more…)


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My mother and I just got back from a trip to Kansas and Missouri, where my parents grew up.  We were visiting my 94-and-a-half year old grandmother and staying with my aunt and uncle—my mom’s little brother and his wife.  It was a great trip in terms of family—my grandmother was warm and loving, even though she’s in a nursing home with round-the-clock care, and the rest of my mother’s family was as hilarious as usual.  We had a nice lunch with my aunt Mary’s brother and his wife and told stories.  We saw an old friend of my mom’s from college and got to go to my second cousin’s first birthday and to meet another cousin’s new girlfriend.  All the human parts of it were pretty wonderful. (more…)

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