A primer: What is nature literature?

This brief, light treatment of possibilities for the LDS nature writer is excerpted from my unpublished paper “Why Joseph Went to the Woods: Rootstock for LDS Literary Nature Writers,” presented at the 2008 Association for Mormon Letters Annual Conference.   This paper arose out of blog posts at A Motley Vision and Times and Seasons.

Perhaps one reason LDS writers haven’t ventured far into the field of nature writing is because they’re not sure what it is or does and whether or not writing it fulfills covenants they’ve made to help build the kingdom of God.   Furthermore, in my experience, many in the LDS population don’t know how to interpret the anger, misanthropy, or sorrow that crops up in traditional nature writing, especially when the high rhetoric expressing such emotions threatens LDS lifestyles and beliefs.   Important, call-to-action terms like €œstewardship, € a word that many if not most LDS accept as an essential component of concepts like €œservice € and €œrighteous dominion, € prove uncomfortably mercurial when applied to environmental issues.   Writing nature literature might qualify as exercising €œgood stewardship, € and thus as an act of building the kingdom, but what kind of writing qualifies as nature writing and what aspects of building the kingdom might it accomplish? Continue reading “A primer: What is nature literature?”

The fly

Late summer of 2008, I was sitting in Crossfire Canyon (here are parts two and three) at one of my favorite sandstone perches when I became conscious of a persistent buzzing noise. Looking down, I spotted  an insect hovering just above the ground about a meter below me.  The insect  looked something like a yellow jacket, black and bright yellow in coloration, but in morphology it more closely resembled a fly than a  wasp. A yellow jacket’s buzz changes pitch constantly as it moves, and it’s always in motion  because it has no real talent for hovering. This look-alike hovered  like a champ, so it  droned at a fairly constant pitch  rather  higher than a wasp’s.   Continue reading “The fly”

Welcome to Wilderness Interface Zone

There’s something  about  walking out of the desert or other wild or marginally wild area that you don’t  get walking into it.   Something  that you feel in  your return to others sharing the fire or that comes from sliding into  your vehicle to head home at the end of a hike or campout.   Something about completing the journey on foot, walking through the front door, closing the circuit. Continue reading “Welcome to Wilderness Interface Zone”