To the editor:
An Open Letter to The People’s University:
(Plain Press, July 2014)Would you invite Louise Erdrich and William Least Heat Moon to please share your stage and together mine the great and much neglected wisdom in that fine passage of T. C. McLuhan’s, Touch the Earth: “The Lakota knew the softening influence of Mother Earth – and so kept their children close to her.”
I can’t think of a more apt response, befitting a People’s University, to the school shootings and street violence that routinely tears our communities and families apart.
Can’t think of two authors more capable of translating that wisdom for us.
Here is Ms. Erdrich, writing about (leaves of) grass: “I would be converted to a religion of grass. Sleep the winter away and rise headlong each spring. Sink deep roots. Conserve water. Respect and nourish your neighbors and never let trees gain the upper hand. Such are the tenets and dogmas. As for the practice—grow lush in order to be devoured or caressed, stiffen in sweet elegance, invent startling seeds—those also make sense. Bow beneath the arm of fire. Connect underground. Provide. Provide. Be lovely and do no harm.”
And, Mr. Least Heat Moon, in Blue Highways, that fine and understated meditation on the intergenerational discontinuities of our day: “Alice Venable Middleton was one of those octogenarians who make age something you don’t want to miss. She stood in her kitchen & watched as I stepped around her garden of kale, collard, & corn….”).
Thanks for considering this fairly urgent request.