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Rituals for Wastelands

We shut ourselves away from wounded places, psychologically, emotionally, and communally, but there is a better way to heal ourselves and our world.Whenever Lisa Olson returned to her hometown in Wisconsin, she would bundle everyone into the car and drive out to the old farm that had been in the family since the 1800s. Although Lisa’s parents had sold the place years earlier, the family still felt deeply connected to it. The house that had belonged to Lisa’s grandmother stood on one side of the road.Pastures ranged over the rolling hills. Tall oak and beech woods lined both sides of the valley, and when sunlight suffused through them, they seemed as enchanted to Lisa as when she and her sister had played there as children.On an autumn afternoon in 2004, this traditional outing had special significance. Buckled into his car seat among the adults was Lisa’s five-month-old son, whom Lisa was looking forward to introducing to the farm. But as they approached the area, everyone gasped. The house was still there, but the surrounding woods had been clear-cut. Stumps and broken branches exposed jagged views of …

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