I’m a big Annie Proulx fan, and especially her Wyoming writing. So I have to plug her article in the New York Times, “My Own Private Wyoming.” Amazing images through her spare writing.
Which reminds me also to recommend Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape. One of the real challenges of my work is talking about human-nature relationships in the English language. In so many cases we just don’t have the words to describe what it feels like to be embedded in a place for thousands of years. I’m not a linguist but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a lot of the older English words that are directly connected to the land have fallen out of use, given the last few hundred years of Anglo-American history. So Home Ground is exciting in part because it offers a lot of land-based language that can be brought back into modern English in people speaking and writing about their local landscapes. For more on the eco-linguistics topic read this book.
It’s also important to realize that language repression was (and in many places still is) a central strategy of colonization on this continent, and language loss is a major piece of many native peoples’ historical trauma that’s still playing out in a variety of ways in the present day. Here’s Winona LaDuke on decolonization, reclaiming traditional language, and a lot more – watch or read the whole talk!