Kentucky is a land of dozens of tribal nations. Once densely populated with virgin forests, the people cleared some of these wooded areas to create meadowlands. Game inhabited these areas to graze on the wild grasses. Good hunting. The people kept the meadows productive with a light firing each season, creating savannahs that can still be seen today, a gentle impression on the land. See Native Americans of Clay County and Kentucky pdf below.
When I walk around the countryside in Southcentral Kentucky, I am aware of trees and farms and rivers and lakes and sandstone or limestone outcrops–a porous land on and through which waters flow. Karst landscape it is called. Carved by water, there are caverns, caves and blue holes where springs surface like eyes peering up at us terrestrial beings.
I am writing a new novel based in Kentucky in Bowling Green. The frame of the novel is the land. Its presence permeates the story about a young girl whose family has deep roots in the land, five generations of farming on what was indigenous land. She is a new generation with dreams in her eyes about regenerating her family’s land, back to what it might have been when reciprocity between human and soil was natural and both thrived.
She wonders, “What would reparations look like? What could I do to make it right?”
The Global Forest. See New York Times Article about Diana Beresford-Kroeger with whom my character studies and receives the wisdom and practical knowledge about reforesting her land from Diana and her husband, Christian.