Friday, 26 August 2011

And for this week's treat...(part 2)

The lovely Graham Harvey contributed an introduction that managed to encompass just what we were up to and why and left us, the editors, feeling almost redundant....


Graham Harvey

“What is your favourite colour?” might not seem the most urgent or profound question that you will ever be asked. However, those who have seen Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail (Gilliam and Jones 2002 [1975]) will remember it as the decisive question asked of King Arthur and his Grail knights at the Bridge of Death. Failure to name his own favourite colour proved fatal to Sir Galahad (who had instead parroted Lancelot’s reply). Wanton Green is not about favourite colours. But it is about the preferences, affections, relationships, rituals and responses that make the authors who they are, inform their understandings of the world (quite literally), and prompt their further acts towards living places and communities. It is not only a book about senses of place, feelings of belonging, or romantic longings to be somewhere. Far more than that, it is about the absolute centrality of belonging. Radically, it contests the idea that humans are separate from “nature” or “the environment”. It insists that our bodies and all our senses, feelings, emotions and thoughts, are rooted in our relationships to places and the other beings with whom we co-inhabit places, the world and the cosmos.

Ecology, the story of the world, is not about somewhere else. Nor can it only speak about animals, plants and other beings — it cannot leave us out. We humans are members of place-communities. Ecology is about those who dwell in places, and those who shape and affect places. This includes us. It cannot properly ignore us. Sometimes it is almost all and only about us, especially now that we have had such dramatic and widespread effects in our world. The chapters that follow arise from the preferences and experiences of particular authors. Their cumulative effect is the rising of a powerful wave of recognition, celebration and active engagement with the world. We are subtly invited or provocatively propelled to honour the places of our dwelling and our influence. Especially when in a celebratory mood, these might include our homes and their immediate surroundings, or those places where we step aside from the demands of human-focused living to seek presence within and among the wider, larger, more diverse community of earth-dwellers. Particular places matter to us, they manufacture us from their matter, and our bodies are part of their intertwined relationships and busy communities. Our connections to place(s) are not accidental. And all of this is true whether or not we like the places where we are right now.

and, as ever, if you want to read the rest of this piece, contain yourself in patience, and watch for The Wanton Green (the book) as the leaves fall, or with the first frosts or maybe when the snow hits...who knows! Wanton is as Wanton does, but the moment draws closer!

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