One Place, Many Voices: Local Authors Share Connections to Place

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 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.

About the weather, I have no guarantees, but if it is mild on Dec. 16 we will visit woodland trails at Douglas County Fishing Lake with Caleb Morse. Morse 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 that outing, Denise Low and Thomas Pecore Weso will help illuminate the former Delaware trading post in North Lawrence on Dec. 30. This married duo writes about connections of land to their Native American heritages.

Low is an award-winning author of prose and poetry, including “The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival.” Her candid, compelling and poignant memoir reveals family history with vivid moments that smell like sunshine, to paraphrase the author.

Weso wrote the award-winning “Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir.” He provides an intimate and nostalgic bridge into the rich heritage of his ancestors’ ways of life. 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 Jan. 6. Schultz is a professor emerita at the University of Kansas and author of “The Sauntering Eye: Kansas Meditations,” a collection of 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 the Lawrence Public Library.