Orion: Thirty Years

Orion is intended to engage and inspire readers, and on the occasion of our thirtieth anniversary, we would be honored if you would share your stories of how Orion has engaged and inspired you over the years.


  1. Dear Orion,

    I first encountered your organization and magazine in graduate school in the mid 1980’s. Since then Orion has been an inspiration, touchstone, and compass for my life. Amazing gatherings in DC and West Virginia in the 1990’s created fertile grounds to help me develop my voice.

    I benefiting greatly from the generous and compassionate offerings of soul and wisdom from Terry Tempest Williams, Scott Russell Sanders, Richard Nelson, Patti Ann Rogers, Robert Michael Pyle, Barry Lopez, Bill McKibben, and others.

    Orion has given environmental professionals and community activists important gifts: the ability to engage in intellectual and emotional reflection and meaningful dialogue about the planet-altering truths we face — while connecting us in an ever-expanding community of colleagues and friends who share a common intention.

    Terry wrote in Refuge: “grief dares us to love once more”.

    The grief cycle is a familiar friend visiting me daily: denial, anger, bargaining, depression…and acceptance. These guests arrive at my table any moment of the day — and I try to welcome them all.

    Practicing acceptance means seeing our place in the evolution of biological life on earth. We are babies, acting like adolescents, playing god. I try to accept our planets’ miniscule importance in the cosmos while realizing how we ignore the reality of our current predicament due to our need for instant gratification.

    I accept human greed, self-importance, and narcissism –– not because I like it — but because I am not above it.

    And still….I rejoice in the human capacity to create amazing works of art, music, science, literature, and architecture

    And mostley… our immense capacity to love each other and our wild kindred spirits.

    Virginia Farley

  2. Well, how tempting to tell a story about this one time when I walked into a bar and there was Orion in the corner drinking whiskey with a straw and looking, at best, bedraggled, and talking obsessively about how Kobe Bryant is the most selfish overrated ball-hog in the history of basketball, but actually I think the moment I totally dug Orion in person, so to speak, for the first time, is when I heard Bob Pyle, Richard Nelson, and Pattiann Rogers read together on a Forgotten Language thing, and realized that o my heavens there’s a cheerful ARMY of brilliant people who want to heal and sing the glorious pained world, a ragged army I didn’t know about, which cheered me right up and still does.

  3. I would like to share a story about how I became an Orion subscriber. A few years ago we had an unseasonably warm winter in Colorado. I was working at my community garden when an older gentleman strode up and we started to talk about gardening. I explained how Growing Garden’s mission is to foster community through gardens and he spoke about his experiences as a young boy working in his parent’s Victory Garden. As the morning moved on, my work gradually came to a stand still as we pursued topics such as local food, getting children connected to Nature and the state of the environment. I admitted that I was loosing faith in our species, as humans did not seem to have what it takes to correct bad behavior and take a path towards a more sustainable lifestyle. My garden companion for the morning said he would leave a small gift for me, in a plastic bag, under the wheelbarrow. Before he left I introduced myself and he said; “Have you ever heard of the Orion magazine, I’m George Russell and I work with the Orion Society to foster hope for a better world.” And sure enough the next day the book “A Reason for Hope” by Jane Goodall was there for my reading pleasure. I have remembered that exchange for many years, as it showed me how much influence one person can have. George, with his conversation and thoughtful gift, gave me a reason to hope. With a renewed sense of future possibilities I continue to work towards the kind of world that George visioned for me that day in the garden. Marie Zanowick, Certified Biomimicry Professional, US Environmental Protection Agency.

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