"We like to think that in the wilderness we escape streets and signs. We venture beyond familiar places where everything has been named, made human, possessed, where all paths are known, mapped, set in concrete or ink.. A wilderness is roadless, both by agreement and by law. Surely this should also mean trailless, signless, mapless, nameless: no trace of human writing on the land, nothing to say that we have inscribed this place as ours. An absence that signals the purity of the land, an absence at the center of our desire.
Maybe we should go to the wilderness to get lost, to lose the familiar way of cities and towns, to let loose of our everyday sense of our place, and find another way of being in the world. Lost, amazed, I might forget myself and find myself, a creature among other creatures, a reed in the wind, fed by sunlight, dead plants and animals, minerals from the mountains crumbling at my feet." --SueEllen Campbell, from Bringing the Mountain Home A deeply loved landscape holds us fast to the planet, says SueEllen Campbell in this engaging exploration of our relationships with wild places.
What lies at the core of such love? What draws us to a windblown mountaintop, the slickrock desert, the crash and roar of a whitewater river? What desires shape our wilderness journeys--backpacking, rafting, hiking--and what events, emotions, and ideas shape the stories we tell about them? Campbell explores these questions through personal narratives that float between memoir and meditation, nature essay and adventure story. She travels to a remote spot in Kenya, where thousands of flamingos "encircle the geysers and carpet the glassy lake. In the rain forests of Dominica, she marvels at parrots as bits of green forest tipped with scarlet and given wing.
But always she returns to the intimate landscapes of her home in the Rocky Mountain and desert West. There, a trudge into the Grand Canyon becomes a pilgrimage into the earth's immensity. Layers of personal grubbiness offer an introduction to geology, and a comical obsession with equipment hints at how to live in the moment. A climb up a familiar mountain turns into a brush with death.
By turns celebratory, funny, lyrical, and down-to-earth, Campbell's is an exuberant new voice that will appeal to many readers. Lovers of the outdoors, armchair travelers, and students of nature writing will find in this book a field guide to the emotions and ideas set loose in us by wild places.
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