Spiritual perspective on books

Waiting for the butterflies

In her book of essays Small Wonder (New York, Harper—Collins, 2002), Barbara Kingsolver writes: "People need wild places. Whether or not we think we do, we do. We need to be able to taste grace and know once again that we desire it."

Ms. Kingsolver continues: "Wildness puts us in our place. It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd. It reminds us why, in those cases in which our plans might influence many future generations, we ought to choose carefully."

She is speaking here—as she does in several essays—of our need to know intimately the places where we live and show a real concern to preserve their natural beauty. She dreads the thought that many children might grow up not knowing "what silence sounds like," or without the ability to imagine the infinite because "they have never seen how the stars fill a dark night sky." She admits that she couldn't rationally prove many of her insights but instead feels them as a religious faith. "I can't believe otherwise," she says.

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On the California recall
September 22, 2003

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