Educated as a biologist, Barbara Kingsolver is a detailed, well-read writer. Her collection of essays Small Wonder ranges from her response to 9/11 to her speculations on our culture’s “scientific illiteracy” to some of the personal lessons in her own life. It has the gems of wisdom that run throughout all of her works; truths like “We are all in the same boat. It’s the same struggle for each of us, and the same path out: the utterly simple, infinitely wise, ultimately defiant act of loving one thing and then another, loving our way back to life.”
Kingsolver reminds us of the war every person fights and shows us the beauty in the world we still have. If there is anyone that can make genetic engineering interesting and understandable to the least science-minded of us, and add poetry to the every day, it is Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve found that even if I don’t agree with all of her insights, I am still fascinated by them. Her practiced patience in revering nature and her connection to the people and world around her are enviable.
And best of all, she very honestly and humanly practices what she preaches: “Since it’s nonsensical, plus embarrassing, to be an outspoken critic of things you do yourself, I set myself long ago to the task of consuming less. I never go to India, but in various stages of my free-wheeling youth I tried out living in a tent, in a commune, and in Europe, before eventually determining that I could only hope to dent the salacious appetites of my homeland and make us a more perfect union by living inside this amazing beast, poking its belly from the inside with my one little life and the small, pointed sword of my pen. So this is where I feed my family and try to live lightly on the land.”
I think we could all take a bit of advice from Kingsolver's mighty pen and humble garden.