Friday, May 28, 2010

The Morning Reading: "landscapes also have the power to change us"

Danny Heitman writes about John James Audubon, birds, Louisiana and big oil in today's Los Angeles Times.


The oil spill disaster off the coast of my home state of Louisiana is stark evidence that humans have an awesome power to change the natural landscape, often for the worse.

But landscapes also have the power to change us, as John James Audubon was reminded when he arrived in Louisiana in 1821.

In Louisiana, Audubon encountered a biblical abundance of wildlife that transformed him and his bird art, enlarging his sense of possibility and refining his genius as an observer of the natural world. Audubon did more pictures for his "Birds of America" project in Louisiana than in any other single place, and he said that of all the states he had visited in his pursuit of wonders, Louisiana was his favorite. The natural beauty he saw was sustained by an ecosystem that, in the wake of the oil spill, is now threatened with ruin...

If you wish to read his essay in its entirety, "Louisiana, land of Audubon...and now?" click here.


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