The Orris: A Cultural Journal

Issue Three: Letter from the Editor

Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña I’ll admit it, I’ve always been a bit of tree hugger at heart. I grew up in the Maine woods, where the padded forest floors and bubbling streams felt like natural extensions to my home. In my adolescent years of amateur photography, I was obsessed with capturing the upsides of trees, fascinated by the way the branches splayed out against the backdrop of sky, splintering the light into a natural mosaic.  One of my first ‘pets’ was a hawk that loomed nearby our cabin, named Cee-Cee for his shrieking cry.  I grew up in the dirt.

I’ve moved from this rural wilderness to the concrete jungle, trading mountains for high rises, barefoot walks for subway lines. But the love of the natural world has remained with me despite my ecological migration.  I love my city’s parks, slowing my city-sprint pace to relish in the gardens and playing fields that add green patches to the brick and mortar landscape.   But increasingly I’m noticing empty patches of dry dust between dividing highway lines, locked behind fences, between alleyways, beside our apartment stoops.  This land lies there, beaten down by human traffic, marred by broken glass and waste.  But, we could look differently at these sites, not as eye sores, but as potential green spaces.  We have taken the life away from these spaces by our urban intrusion, but we could restore their potential: a few seeds, a little water, some care, and then let the earth show us what it can do.

We are moved by our environments and we move them right back.  To live environmentally is more than just conserving water and recycling. It is about being an observant, mindful participant in our complex global, social and natural ecosystems.  In this issue of The Orris, we look at the environment as not only the natural world around us, but the societies and communities we are part of.  Tal Leeds shows us why we need creative solutions to our ecological crises in “The Planet is Creative and So Must We Be.”   Genie Giaimo navigates the urban gardens of Boston, while The Maine Farm Chick brings us to the farms of northern New England.  We’ll show you where to get fresh veggies in your urban area, and bring you up close to the stunning wildlife of North America.

We hope this issue inspires you to think about the natural spaces around you.  In the words of the contemporary philosopher Rosi Braidotti, we must “practice a humble kind of hope, rooted in ordinary micro-practices of everyday life: simple strategies to hold, sustain and map out thresholds of sustainable transformation.”  Go forth and hold that “humble kind of hope” in mind as you work, play, shop, trek, tend and observe this ever-so crucial earth.

-Lana Cook

Issue Three: The Environment

Forthcoming Table of Contents

  New Content Every Tuesday & Friday

Letter from Editor


“The Planet is Creative And So Must We Be” – Tal Leeds

 “From Black Thumb to Secret Garden” – Genie Giaimo

“Motivation” -Bryan Kayser


 “Revelation” – Guy Rotella

 “Man v. Car”  and “He’s a Vampire” – Tim Strange

 “Le Gris des Fleurs” – Virginie Colline

 “Losing Selves” and “Unwinding a Life” – Valentino Cano

“Definitions” and “Pogrom”  – Michael Brownstein

 “Black Jesus” – Keith Laufenberg


 Roeya Amigh

Ernest Williamson

 Bryan Ramey

Brittaine Pendeleton

Fabio Sasi

Nature Photography


Farmers’ Markets in Your City

The Power of “o-c-O-C” : Trevor Lowell from Public Citizen

Interview: Maine Farm Chick

Event: Allston DIY Fest &  Orris Book Swap

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