I have lived in places of great natural beauty—even places that appeared, to the naïve eye, mostly undisrupted. The Gulf Coast. The Blue Ridge Mountains. The northern coast of Michigan. But it isn’t easy to find natural beauty, or any scene that might inspire spontaneous praise or pastoral poetry, in my current home.
Here I mostly find a landscape of mourning. But the terrain of grief is also worth writing about. It is becoming urgent, in fact, that writers tell this story of absence and loss. Since I read Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home), I have wondered how artists might answer Pope Francis’ plea—a plea that runs throughout the history of Catholic spirituality—to care for our common home.