Merlin Director Featured in Humanities MT Environmental Humanities Perspective Series

Humanities Montana

Environmental Humanities

“Ocean in the Skies”

Part of a series on environmental humanities, this short essay reflects upon nature, friendship, and this special place called home.

Getting to know the land has been like getting to know a friend. The skies invite and I follow, wandering into the great wide open. I now know her quirks and patterns, the sounds she makes when she is filled with laughter, and her countenance when she feels sorrow. I have gotten to know my neighbors—the bobcat and family of foxes, the black bears and wolf, and the myriad birds. In some powerful way, we see each other. There is a kind of poetry in which we all partake. . . To feel at home in this way is to acknowledge that we are always living in relation to, no matter where we are. I am reminded of why Montana has become my home. How this girl who swam in the ocean before she walked, found the ocean in the skies.” — Marisa Diaz-Waian (excerpt from essay)

“It seems silly to say—hasn’t this been said? Isn’t it obvious?—but we are all connected, and fleeting, and small, and yet our collective impact is thunderous. Every breath we take is part of a reciprocal relationship with all other life on Earth.

For our final essay, we asked Marisa Diaz-Waian to reflect on the nature preserve she calls home. She serves on the Academic Advisory Board […] for PLATO, and is the founder and director of Merlin CCC, a public philosophy nonprofit in Helena. She has a special interest in ethics, ancient philosophy, existentialism, humor, and “fuzzy” topics at the intersection of philosophy and psychology. Her work focuses on philosophy in the community, frequently with an interdisciplinary, environmental, and intergenerational bent.” — Sam Dwyer, Humanities Montana


Thanks so much to Sam Dwyer and Humanities Montana for inviting me participate in this fun writing series.  What a joy to be able to share my love for Montana and the environment!

– Marisa Diaz-Waian

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