The Best We Can Do is Listen

As usual I am about a month behind in my reading, and so am just now getting through the December edition of Orion Magazine. There are a few fantastic articles in it (as usual) but one focuses on an art exhibit called Human/Nature and has some great quotes. Read the whole areticle here: Human/Nature. And subscribe to Orion here.

“The only thing we have to protect nature with is culture,” Wendell Berry has observed. And yet, nature is a particularly human idea. Culture is how we come to it.

In 1944, Richard Wright wrote in American Hunger, “I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” So it is, perhaps, with art-making, with the work of conservation, with the act of simply getting by—consciously and with integrity—in this uneven world that is our heritage. We hope for echoes. We hunger for recognition and response. This is what the artists of Human/Nature have done in concert. They have made soundings in eight different places in eight wildly different ways, and they are tracing them home. The best we can do is listen.

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