Teaser Tuesdays: The Ogallala Road by Julene Bair

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.


I found very thought-provoking Julene Bair’s memoir of returning with mixed feelings to the family farm. My full review will not be out until a little closer to its March publication date, but for now, a few lines that got me thinking:

Our sense of beauty is a survival instinct, telling us that a place can sustain us for generations to come. I’d always known this in my bones, but it wasn’t until many years after I left Kansas and discovered my passion for wilderness that the intuition became conscious. This creek was now ugly. That didn’t bode well for the underlying aquifer’s ability to support life in the future.

Part of me nods firmly at this, and part of me wonders if beauty is really the same thing as lifegiving. Perhaps it’s all in the eye of the beholder? Please weigh in, Pops.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

2 Responses

  1. well, there’s not much to go on in a teaser; the form’s brevity and your broader question makes me think we readers are missing something

    but there’s no doubt “beauty” is a subjective thing, and I would say often unrelated to “lifegiving”

    consider: perhaps there are whole branches of humans who failed to survive & procreate, yet saw beauty in their failed environment; as we know, it’s the survivors who usually pass down their history and arts

    • No, I’m really just asking about the lines quoted here… I do think this is a book for you to consider more broadly too, though. She’s conflating beauty and environmental health in these lines as I read them; I wonder if they’re always coincident. It’s curious. But an attractive theory (no pun intended)!

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