"A place is not a thing," writes Paul Gruchow in the foreword to Voices for the Land, "it is a relationship. A location becomes a place only in the context of time, of history." In this extraordinary tribute to the importance of the ordinary places in our lives, fifty-two Minnesotans write about the special, sometimes secret, places that give their lives meaning. For some it is their home or cabin or lake. For others, it's a family farm or neighborhood park, a backyard garden or north woods trail: all places where we find a personal and spiritual connection to the land.
Voices for the Land explores this complex relationship by linking these personal essays with striking images captured by award-winning photographer Brian Peterson. This marriage of words, images, and landscape provides a powerful reminder of our deep and abiding connection to the land. The writers share the experience of these favorite places through their senses, from the aching tingle of a cold winter night and the sound of ice "singing" to the buzz of mosquitoes and the acrid smell of burning peat.
The Voices for the Land project, organized by the nonprofit group 1000 Friends of Minnesota, encouraged Minnesotans to write about the land they love and to fight for its preservation. The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a selection of these essays, paired with Brian Peterson's photos, in an award-winning series. Voices for the Land brings these essays and photos together in book form for the first time.
"Ordinary places," writes Paul Gruchow, "are as necessary to a good community as are ordinary people." Voices for the Land speaks to the power of these ordinary places and the value of preserving them for the simple reason that they are special to someone.