March 16, 2010
March Reading the Western Landscape news; April Selection
Here is my favorite passage from our March Reading the Western Landscape selection.
Amy Stewart's From the Ground Up (Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of North Carolina, 2001) It is bottom of p. 235 onto p. 236. “When my Aunt D’Anna was in town from Dallas, I took her with me to see the monarchs. D’Anna and I have always been close. We understand each other, we speak the same secret language. Even now, when I see her, she leans over and whispers to me, “You’re my child. I loaned you to your father and he never gave you back. He has all my Aretha Franklin records, too.” I knew she would love the monarchs. When we got to the eucalyptus grove, people were standing around in dignified groups, craning their necks up at the butterflies and whispering to each other as if they were in a museum. The monarchs were mostly stuck together like wet leaves clinging to the trees, only the pale dusty undersides of their wings exposed, holding onto the branches for their lives. But as the sun came out and warmed their wings, they shook themselves loose from their huddle and hundreds of them took flight at once. The sky filled with orange butterflies soaring up to the tops of the trees, then drifting calmly down again. Each wing appeared in sharp relief against the blue sky, a perfect symmetry of black, orange, and white, thousands of them floating above us. D’Anna and I lay right down on the observation platform, among the schoolchildren tugging on their parents’ sleeves and the nature enthusiasts snapping pictures. Lying there on our backs, gazing up at a sky filled with fluttering wings, it was difficult to feel anchored to the ground. They drifted down around us, landing on the platform, on our shoes, on the camera bag, then soared up again. We felt suspended in the sky with them, as if we were flying ourselves. Speech became difficult; we were in awe.”The whole section is evocative of the west, but my really favorite part is the “You’re my child…” part.Here are the questions I concocted for the book:Tell me some parts of this book that resonated for you in terms of landscape.Tell me some parts of this book that resonated for you in terms of gardeningDid any of the gardening adventures seem to feel especially western or “not” western?Tell me about Amy Stewart’s growth as a gardener.Tell me you favorite line or image from the story.The next book is Gary Paul Nabhan’s Coming Home to Eat (New York: W.W. Norton, 2002)
Here is the WorldCat link to find it in a local library.
The next meeting is Thursday, April 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Arboretum Library.