Gary Paul Nabhan Quotes
“Solitude takes time, and caregivers to children have no time. Our children demand attention and need care. They ask questions and parents must answer. The number of decisions that go into a week of parenting astonishes me. Women have known for centuries what I have just discovered: going to work every day is far easier than staying home raising children...thoughtful parenting requires time to think, and parents of young children do not have time to think...One middle-aged female writing student spoke to me of feeling she lacked the freedom to "play hooky in nature"; it is an act of leisure men indulge in while women stay at home, keeping domestic life in order. Men often can justify poking around in the woods as a part of their profession, or as part of an acceptably manly activity like hunting or fishing. Women, for generations circumscribed by conventional values, must purposefully create opportunities for solitude, for exploration of nature or ideas, for writing.”
“play has become too domesticated and regimented while playgrounds themselves have become more and more barren. May today are devoid of vegetation with which to form nests, shelters, wands, dolls, or other playthings...These concerns are best explored in a heterogeneous habitat, where several secret niches are harbored, the kinds that can no longer be found on prefabricated metal and plastic jungle gym.”
“I heard a young city boy ask an elderly Papago woman if, lacking a harvesting pole, one could ever collect fruit off the tall cacti by throwing rocks at the tops to knock the fruit down.
'NO!' Marquita replied with a strain of horror in her voice. 'The saguaros- they are Indians too. You don't EVER throw ANYTHING at them. If you hit them on the head with rocks you could kill them. You don't ever stick anything sharp into their skin either, or they will just dry up and die. You don't do anything to hurt them. They are Indians.”
“A Sonoran Desert village may receive five inches of rain one year and fifteen the next. A single storm may dump an inch and a half in the matter of an hour on one field and entirely skip another a few hours away. Dry spells lasting for months may be broken by a single torrential cloudburst, then resume again for several more months. Unseasonable storms, and droughts during the customary rainy seasons, are frequent enough to reduce patterns to chaos.
The Papago have become so finely tuned to this unpredictability that it shapes the way they speak of rain. It has also ingrained itself deeply in the structure of their language.
Linguist William Pilcher has observed that the Papago discuss events in terms of their probability of occurrence, avoiding any assumption that an event will happen for sure...
Since few Papago are willing to confirm that something will happen until it does, an element of surprise becomes part of almost everything. Nothing is ever really cut and dried. When rains do come, they're a gift, a windfall, a lucky break.”
“The sentiment underlying this local possessiveness of distinctive crops, foods, and customs is known in Italy as campanilismo. It is somewhat negatively defined in dictionaries as 'an excessive attraction to one's own homeland or birthplace.' As it is derived from the word for bell, campana, a more literal definition might be 'belief or faith in what lies within earshot of the village bell.”
“This provincialism certainly has its detractors, but it is not the same as myopia. At its core is a heartfelt appreciation for local resources and traditions. This appreciation has fostered the rich cultural, agricultural, and culinary heritage that has characterized much of rural Italy, as well as many other peasant cultures around the world.”
Gary Paul Nabhan
- Description: Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally-celebrated nature writer, seed saver, conservation biologist and sustainable agriculture activist who has been called "the father of the local food movement" by Utne Reader, Mother Earth News, Carleton College and Unity College. Gary is also an orchard-keeper, wild forager and Ecumenical Franciscan brother in his hometown of Patagonia, Arizona near the Mexican border. For his writing and collaborative conservation work, he has been honored with a MacArthur "genius" award, a Southwest Book Award, the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing, the Vavilov Medal, and lifetime achievement awards from the Quivira Coalition and Society for Ethnobiology.
--from the author's website