The Nature Pages


A Love Story
by Barbara Richardson
ForeEdge, 2015

The three dozen essays in this anthology explore and explain and celebrate the virtues of Earth's outer surface or, to put it simply, dirt. Edited by novelist Barbara Richardson, the collection includes a wide range of writings by artists, scientists, poets and farmers reflecting on diverse topics emerging from a common soil.

Contributors who could be labeled as "nature writers" include Julene Bair, Wes Jackson, Edward Kanze, Lisa Knopp, John T. Price, Janisse Ray, Jeanne Rogers, Donald G. Schueler, and Liz Stephens.

In her preface, Richardson refers to Walt Whitman's directive "Look for me under your boot-soles" and extols the divinity of dirt. "Grab a shovel. Hike a ravine. Breathe a dust storm. Reek like old goat and sleep like Venus after a dirty long day. Relish dirt's unbiased receptivity. Worship, if you will, the endless fecundity of soil. Or better yet, fall in love. Dirt makes a resilient, astounding lover."

Sheridan County, Kansas, farmer digging in the dirt to see how deep the moisture is

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What I learned first, and best, and will continue to learn forever, from my 120 acres of dirt in a high mountain meadow, is that ground, like all the best things in life, gives itself up slowly, that in my twenty-two years here (and counting... always counting), I have only scratched the surface of all the things there are to learn. ~ Pam Houston
farm in the high mountain meadow

Thank heaven for dirt - literally. Waht is it, after all, but stardust? Some of it sifted just last night out of the cold, black intergalactic void. The rest fell from the cosmos last week, last century, last millennium, or a billion years ago. ~ Edward Kanze

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Dirty child eating food sitting on the doorstep of a house
Of the four classical elements - earth, air, fire  and water - earth, or dirt, is the one I knew most intimately. It mingled with my sweat, and I tasted it when I licked the salt in the crook of my elbow. ~ Julene Bair. 

Feets dirty with mud
I loved every part of the dirt, manure, and water that went into creating our prolific garden. I also loved the dirt, manure, and water that caked on the soles of my bare feet, which were often so dirty they looked as if I were wearing short brown boots. ~ Jeanne Rogers.

Explore the natural world with Snowy Egret, the oldest independent U.S. journal of nature writing.

Snowy Egret, Vol. 75, #1
Snowy Egret, Vol. 75, #1

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