Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps
Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (2002) by Ted Kooser (1939) is a gentle journey among the hills and people of east central Nebraska. The area consists of rolling prairie hills and was settled by European immigrants of Czech and German descent in the late 1800's. Thus, the area was called the Bohemian Alps by them, out of some similarities of the area to parts of Bohemia and maybe out of longing for the real Alps! The book follows a traditional reflective journey through the seasons of one year. It is a story of simple wonders; a walk with an old dog, Christmas decorating, baking a pie, visiting with neighbors, listening to and observing the unique sounds of the languages still deep within the older people, the hard-won direct wisdom of neighbors or the still of a winter morning in the country. Kooser's narrative moves easily back and forth from moments in the present to memories of long ago. This is how most of us experience our lives in the back and forth, but Kooser shows us just how rich this life can be when these times and places are woven together into wholes that give us security and purpose without the bother of a preachy ego rattling our minds. Kooser was a United States Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. I am a fan of all of his writings and poetry. As a suggestion, one might start reading Kooser's poetry by finding a copy of his book "Delights and Shadows" (2004). Read for pleasure. Read for wisdom. Read for peace.