For [Jane Austen and the readers of Pride and Prejudice], as for Mr. Darcy, [Elizabeth Bennett's] solitary walks express the independence that literally takes the heroine out of the social sphere of the houses and their inhabitants, into a larger, lonelier world where she is free to think: walking articulates both physical and mental freedom.
We can act to deal with the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami, but the disaster was only faintly political in the economics and indifference...the relief will be very political, in who gives how much (Bush offering 15 million, then 35 million under pressure, the cost of his inauguration and then 350 million under strong international pressure)...but the event itself transcends politics, the realm of things we cause and can work to prevent. We cannot wish that human beings were not subject to the forces of nature, including the mortality... we cannot wish for the seas to dry up, that the waves grow still, that the tectonic plates ceast to exist, that nature ceases to be beyond our abilities to predict and control... But the terms of that nature include such catastrophe and suffering, which leaves us with sorrow as not a problem to be solved but a fact. And it leaves us with compassion as the work we will never finish
To write is to carve a new path through the terrain of the imagination, or to point out new features on a familiar route. To read is to travel through that terrain with the author as a guide-- a guide one might not always agree with or trust, but who can at least be counted on to take one somewhere.
As Elizabeth Blackmar and Ray Rosenzweig wrote in their magisterial history of [Central Park in NYC]: 'The issue of demoncratic access to the park has also been raised by the increasing number of homeless New Yorkers. Poor people--from the 'squatters' of the 1850s to the 'tramps' of the 1870s and 1890s to the Hooverville residents of the 1930s--have always turned to the park land for shelter...The growing visibility of homeless people in Central Park osed in the starkest terms the contradiction between Americans' commitment to democratic space and their acquiescence in vast disparities of wealth and power.
Feminism has both undone the hierarchy in which the elements aligned with the masculine were given greater value than those of the feminine and undermined the metaphors that aligned these broad aspects of experience with gender. So, there goes women and nature. What does it leave us with? One thing is a political mandate to decentralize privilege and power and equalize access, and that can be a literal spatial goal too, the goal of our designed landscapes and even the managed ones -- the national parks, forests, refuges, recreation areas, and so on.