Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Loving an Ugly Landscape

Susan Harris has published an excerpt from one of my essays over on Garden Rant today. The essay, "Pentimento," was published this fall in the literary magazine, Isotope. Check it out: Ugly Landscape

And just in case you don't know what an ugly landscape looks like, here is a photo to help you with the visual:

This is a challenging place to live; it doesn't have an obvious beauty. But over the years I have grown to love it so. Just the other day (while in the garden, in fact), it hit me hard out of nowhere, just how much I do love this open, sprawling, grassy landscape, and I realized that I can't imagine being anywhere else. In large part, that love has grown up as a result of learning to garden with a respect to place. In trying to make a garden that pays homage to the prairie, I've had to learn more about it and the people who have lived here before me, and this in turn has made me feel a part of the landscape itself.

I'd like to thank Susan for giving a nod to the essay.


  1. The prairie is such a fascinating place and not ugly. At least not in my opinion. Rustic and country for sure. And maybe in need of a tree or two, but still beautiful:)

  2. I agree 100%, Tina. Sadly, around here there isn't much of the original prairie left anymore.

    The essay is, in part about a local park that is doing some prairie restoration, though, and the photos I've shown (here and over on the Rant) come from there.

  3. Now how did you get a piece in BOTH Isotope AND Garden Rant? Cool deal if you ask me (Isotope hates me--I've been submitting for years!). Anyway, congrats on both!

  4. When the photo popped up I though "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I'd love to have a view of wide open prairiescapes! Spend years gazing upon little subdivisions with manicured lawns and nursery grown blooms, and you'll see what I mean!

  5. Hey there, Mr. Benjamin! Just keep submitting. You'll get there. Now get back to work on that dissertation!

    Nola--it's pretty down around your part of the state (you're in the hill country area, aren't you?) Some days, I'd like to have a little topographic relief from the flatness here. But on the whole, the wide open is beautiful.

  6. Hi Susan, I loved the excerpt at Garden Rant, fabulous piece. Having grown up in dusty Oklahoma, Tulsa to be exact, I know about prairie, and yes, even ugly, even though they call that part of OK Green Country! HA I believe that people need to grow and prosper wherever they are planted.

  7. Frances--thanks for the nice words about the esay. If you grew up in OK, then you know exactly what I'm talking about...only it's flatter here.

  8. When I first moved to Michigan, from the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia - I thought that the flat, shapeless landscape was something that I'd never get used to. But then I learned how wonderful it is to watch a storm come towards your home from miles away - and there's something about the perspective, the angle, the openness that grows on you.


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