Four Journeys on Mother Earth (Faculty essays on the environment)

Introduction to the Essays by Robert Begiebing

These four essays by faculty indicate both an environmental focus M.F.A. students may pursue and a university commitment to the practice of ecological literacy.  I hope you enjoy these encounters with Mother Earth. They represent the diversity of faculty voices and experiences, as well as a direction some of our students might wish to pursue themselves.

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'Where We Eat Fish' by Richard Adams Carey

I remember the birds: scores and scores of cormorants that nested in the willows that lined the narrowing Volga waterway. The slough was just a few yards wider than our motorboat and shrinking. The cormorants raised their black skulls and beaks in alarm as the boat approached, then rose complaining from their nests of knotted sticks. The wake of the boat opened in a funnel of foam through trunks that had been drowned in the river’s spring flood, through trees that were bare and skeletal.

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'Digging for Home' by Diane Les Becquets

Late at night when hearts grew large and voices were not much more than a whisper, the drums would start up. Some said they were night hawks, others said they were oil pump jacks, but still others believed they were the voice of the Fremonts, hunters and gatherers who existed between the years 300 AD and 1400 AD, before vanishing without any trace of assimilation into other groups of peoples.

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'Big Sur' by Robert Begiebing

During a spring sojourn in California some time ago, I stopped at Big Sur for a two-week, off-the-grid retreat to work on a novel.  I was at that point with the manuscript (a point not unfamiliar to writers) where you experience a crisis of energy and confidence.  To see if the project were salvageable, I wanted a refuge unadulterated by any considerations other than the freedom to work.  The only exception would be to get outdoors and hike the mountains after hours of daily writing. More...

'Moments of Being' by Gretchen Legler

I had been lying on my back, taking notes, looking up into the crystals and into that blue that still amazes me--blue so blue it was as if my eyes had broken; blue so blue it was like gas that faded away into more and more intense blue-violet; beauty so expansive I could not contain it--I had to break to let it in. The first time I had been in an Antarctic ice cave, months earlier, the person who took me there said that often people who go down into crevasses and into ice caves are so overcome

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