Thanks, Anne, for providing me with the chance to see the third showing of The Wisdom to Survive. It was an extremely compelling film. I liked the conversation that followed the showing but as often is the case, my thoughts took some time to crystalize. When they did, I asked myself, “Who Was in the Room?” The excellent cast of articulate characters that contributed on camera was quite evident. They spoke for themselves, but for others too. Who else drifted in during and after?
Tom Berry, the geologian was there, brought in by our friend who led us in that wonderful African song and by his devoted followers and friends, Mary Evelyn Tucker and Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis. His friend, Jesus, was not there that I could ascertain. Tom once remarked that the Christian Bible could afford to be put on the shelf for 100 years while we got our story straight. Tom’s other friend, Teilhard, the geopaleofuturist was surely there.
Aldo Leopold was there. Someone, I think Baird Callicott, called him the Isaiah of the movement. I can still feel the sting of his plaint from The Round River that the price of ecologic perception was ‘to live alone in a world of wounds;’ and, if you will, ‘to be the doctor who sees the mark of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.’ He is no longer alone.
Wendell Berry was there, evoked by the sacraments, sacrifices and sacrileges in our Earth household and his exquisite eye for beauty. His polemics have fermented into vintage poetry over the years that I have read him.
George Perkins Marsh was there, coming across from the Quechee. He went near blind twice and failed in every business. Yet his was the eye that first saw and then translated the ancient runes (ruins) recounting the epic of human agency that makes deserts and brings down mountains. I call him a geolinguist.
And it needs saying—love was in the room with Anne Macksoud, making it all happen.
What do all the geopeople have in common? Prophets all—artists, poets and priests, seers, scholars and scientists, who speak bravely to the magnitude of what we are facing.
‘For they so loved the Earth that they gave their only begotten selves in prophecy that our one and only community might not perish.’
Thanks for your art and for bringing us all together. I especially valued those feminine and native voices.
—Alan Keitt, 1/14/14