Writing by our local authors is rich and diverse in both mood and voice. My current focus is on such writing that provides a sense of place. This is an invitation to explore outside spaces with local authors in a series of events aptly titled Local Authors Outside.
I also want to encourage you to check out their books and hopefully be inspired to deepen your connection to this place—from the lush woodlands of Douglas County State Fishing Lake to Delaware Indian landmarks in North Lawrence, the fertile prairie at Prairie Park, and the wide expanse of diverse flora and fauna throughout our area— I hope you’ll join us!
About the weather, I have no guarantees, but if it is mild on Saturday, December 16 we will visit woodland trails at Douglas County Fishing Lake with Caleb Morse. Caleb is a fantastic guide to learn from during a nature tour, especially if you want to learn about plant families and identify birds by their songs; he is the Collection Manager for the McGregor Herbarium and a contributor to Flora of North America.
I’m curious to see these trails during their winter dormancy. Having visited this woodland in late spring, when the trees are fully leafed-out, I’ve been amazed at how much the sunlight is filtered—stepping back out of the woods is nearly blinding when the sun is shining.
Following Caleb’s outing, Denise Low and Thomas Pecore Weso will help illuminate the former Delaware trading post in North Lawrence on Saturday, December 30. This married duo writes about connections of land to their Native American heritages. Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is an award-winning author of prose and poetry, including The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival, opens a new window.
Her candid, compelling and poignant memoir reveals family history with vivid moments that smell like sunshine, to paraphrase the author. Thomas Pecore Weso wrote the award-winning Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir, opens a new window. He provides an intimate and nostalgic bridge into the rich heritage of his ancestors’ lifeways. Wild rice is a source of cultural identity as well as sustenance, and recipes are included!
Another celebrated author in this series is Elizabeth Schultz; she will share her inspired, visual and lyrical poetry of natural wonder at Prairie Park on Saturday, January 6. Schultz is Professor Emerita of the University of Kansas and author of The Sauntering Eye: Kansas Meditations, opens a new window, poems on Kansas wildlife and environment.
Find more information about this series of events from the library’s website or this link: Local Authors Outside.
I hope you will step outside to enjoy local places, meet local authors, and read their words to develop a greater appreciation for this place and our landmarks, prairies, wetlands, and woodlands!
-Shirley Braunlich is a Readers’ Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.
Cover image: downstream view of Kansas River; photo courtesy of Kansas Geological Survey.