from John Wood’s introduction in “Listening to the Earth” with poems by Morri Creech
February 28, 2013 § 2 Comments
Listening to the Earth can be seen as a lament for what man has done to Gaia, the living planet, the Mother of us all; it can be viewed as a sad farewell, a portrait of planetary wreckage and the twilight of humankind. But ParkeHarrison’s genius is that his work can also be seen as a new genesis—the creation of a world, the molding of nature, and the making of sacrifice. He chronicles the preparation and readying of the earth for man, the making of light and wind and rain, a creator’s sowing, pollinating, tilling the earth, and writing the wind’s words into his great book. By this reading of Listening to the Earth, we see not a ruined, destroyed world being listened to for some sound of life by the last man, but the creator himself kneeling down listening to the roaring land he has fashioned. It is here that ParkeHarrison, the sacred metaphysician, suggests the very remedy for the mistakes and horrors that have plagued us and ravaged the planet. Listening to the Earth is a literal prescription for salvation; it tells us exactly what we need to do, exactly what we must do if we are to survive. That ParkeHarrison can fuse both readings into a single work—and that he does it in photograph after photograph—is his most amazing accomplishment. He warns us but gives us hope simultaneously.