Kathleen Dean Moore’s “Silence
like Scouring Sand” (November/
December 2008) is a beautifully
crafted piece. Beyond highlighting
the need for protection of wild
places, it demonstrates how most
of us move through the world every
day without really seeing or hearing it. To truly open one’s self up to
the notion of “a stream tuning
itself over time, tumbling the rocks into
place” we need to move beyond that all-pervasive self-importance that shapes our
current way of living. We must strip away
the ingrained nature-as-material blindfold of our King Progress culture, and
step outside of the bustle of our everyday
lives. Doing so might reignite the passion
of our individual environmental ethic, as
well as that of the collective environmental movement—which is, at its heart, a
movement to regain a sense of spirituality. Gordon Hempton was listening that
dark night in an Iowa corn>eld, and he
opened himself up to everything that was
around him. That type of moment is
extremely rare and precious. More often,
a real reconnection with our true environment, in body, mind, and spirit, is a
deliberate mode of living, requiring
patience, practice, and a yearning.
I was deeply touched to see Kathleen
Dean Moore express the concept of
silence,” as I’ve
used that same
phrase in my
When I was
younger I lived
many years in
wild and remote areas.
When I returned to “civilization” I was
constantly aware of the loss of silence; I
still am. I’m also aware of what silence
can do for the human spirit. I don’t
believe that we can live without it and
fully experience who we are. I >nd it
alarming that many people have never
known true silence. And many are
uncomfortable with even moderate
silence, and must constantly run a television or radio, or talk on the phone. I often
wonder what physiological and physical
changes will occur in the brain, ears, etc.
from our current state of constant noise.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Ginger Strand’s “The Crying Indian”
(November/December 2008) is an incredible article. I was born in 1960, and the
power of that commercial came back in
full force as I remembered every moment
of the Crying Indian PSA. Later, in college, I majored in environmental conservation and canvassed neighborhoods for
Colorado’s (failed) bottle recycling bill.
This is the kind of article that makes me
want to support Orion, the kind of article
that I will send on to friends— especially
all those folks addicted to Mad Men. It’s
the kind of article that every American
who is trying to wade through information and “help the Earth”—whether it be
through buying local, rejecting bottled
water, or recycling—really needs to read.
Laurie Bohor Roth
Ginger Strand has done some excellent
research, but I’d like to share my
personal experience with the Crying
Indian. As a kid road-tripping with my
family in the late ’50s and early ’60s, we
really did pitch whole bags of trash out the
windows. Everybody did. McDonald’s was
new, but any trash from the supermarket
or deli, after a meal in the car, would go
out the window. Nobody noticed the
trash—the great highways and American
landscape were still beautiful. It was simply cool to have a car and to traverse the
land. But the trash really did pile up, and
eventually people started to notice. The
Crying Indian PSA was huge in bringing
a new word into our vocabulary— pollution.
Before that ad, most people didn’t know
the word, and would have had to look it up
in the unlikely event of stumbling across it.
But pollution soon became a mainstream
word, something we all understood.
Strand is right; we should know about
this smokescreen and press the industry
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