05 February 2009


From dirt we came. We, I'll say it, perhaps as would Kentucky essayist, novelist, poet Wendell Berry, are autocthonous beings, as are all creatures, or at least we should be. Wonderful word, autocthonous: "formed or originating in the place where found," as we miraculously spring up from the soil of our home place. Native American literature is largely a discourse about place and one's spiritual connection (or not) to one part of the Earth.

When we are alienated from our place we experience solastalgia, a term I found in the journal, Australian Psychiatry, that indicates environmentally induced distress. I speculate that as we are exposed to greater environmental change, we will experience more solastalgia, more alienation from the place we live. The remedy: engendering the feeling and practice of living as autocthon, a creature who truly dwells in place. For me, perhaps I should return to playing marbles. To dirt we shall return.

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