By W Scott Olsen
W. Scott Olsen and Bret Lott invited a dozen neighbors to contemplate one specific calendar month within the position they name domestic. the result's A yr in position, a charming number of new writing by way of twelve eminent American writers.
More than a montage of voices and reports, A yr in position illustrates, as Olsen and Lott clarify of their creation, the developments in American considering who we're and what we care approximately. Rick Bass takes us to the Yaak Valley of Montana in June, the place fawns are arriving, "newly-emerged, knocked-legged and groggy, legs nonetheless unfolding from that lengthy slumbering passage." Peggy Shumaker explores the detailed social and cultural time that's March in Fairbanks, Alaska, the place a protracted wintry weather has whetted the psychic depression of population who locate within the "sky’s insufferable brightness . . . a waking discomfort past endurance." Michael Martone transports us via reminiscence to Indiana within the Fifties the place every one may perhaps a blimp "yawed and floated up," wallowing above a suburban local on its strategy to the Indianapolis 500.
These and 9 different contributions yield an unforgettable booklet approximately "the locations we discover ourselves blessed sufficient to be."
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But these are too distant and remote to share the land with. In winter the shelterbelt shimmers above the land; elevators float over the wheat fields whose grains they hold. They might as well be high cold stars. ” Open, flat land turns you in on yourself. Sherwood Anderson: “A night on the prairie takes the shrillness out of men. ” The power of the prairie is that it silences you; it’s a perfect place to grieve. Not codependent, public grieving, leaning on custom or community—this is pure inside stuff.
After the wake and funeral, I went back to Los Angeles to prepare for the baby’s arrival. But how? Everything around us seemed broken or tainted. In the quake’s thirty seconds, sixty people had died, eleven thousand residences had been destroyed, 250 gas lines ruptured, nine highway overpasses snapped in half. A department store had collapsed, an aqueduct had broken open, parking garages and apartment buildings and hospital wings were crisscrossed with yellow tape or condemned outright. Thousands of the “new homeless” were still living in the four tent cities the Red Cross had erected—one just down the road from us.
And still one March the caribou change their migratory pattern. Troopers along Parks Highway have to direct traffic around the milling haunches and clattering snap hooves. Three caribou stand their ground near the top of the hill, smack in the middle of the lane leading to my log house. I watch the one with just one antler, knowing it’s a buck, knowing that males lose their antlers first. Unbalanced, the remaining antler trails a little shred of last year’s velvet, an unlikely survivor of long winter.