"How do you encourage people to keep their hope," Joan asked, "but not their complacency?"But the more memorable passages are the simpler telling anecdotes.
The Kingsolver family of four left drought-stressed Arizona, where lack of rainfall prevented environmentally sound food choices, for the old family farm in Appalachia, where they could spend 12 months eating and growing local food. The first stop on the road trip was, paradoxically, to buy fuel.
Here is the conversation between the cashier at the gas station food mart and Kingsolver's husband, Steven:
"Dang," she said, it's going to rain."
"I hope so," Steven said.
She turned her scowl from the window to Steven. This bleached-blond guardian of gas pumps and snack food was not amused. "It better not, is all I can say."
"But we need it," I pointed out. I am not one to argue with cashiers, but the desert was dying, and this was my very last minute as a Tucsonan. I hated to jinx it with bad precipitation-karma.
"I know that's what they're saying, but I don't care. Tomorrow's my first day off in two weeks, and I want to wash my car."