One of the reasons I moved from Utah County to San Juan County was to provide my oldest son and youngest daughter greater exposure to nature. Household circumstances have resulted in their being confined to the house more than is natural for children in general but is even more unnatural for children of an outdoors-type like myself. I wanted them to have a better chance at the kind of engagement in the natural world I enjoyed growing up, a level of deep involvement that has provided for me all my life.
But it’s been difficult business breaking up their bonds with interior spaces and tempering their fascination with electronic frontiers. Until recently, many of my attempts at getting them “out there” into the yard and surrounding countryside were met with grim doubtfulness. Continue reading “The fetish”
First published at A Motley Vision, this essay explores the nature of stewardship by wondering if we understand what stewardship is or if we’ve merely assumed that we understand. Are we fully conscious of the needs of other creatures, as good stewards ought to be? Are we imaginative enough to visualize the possibilities of faithful stewardship, which may include providing other species with opportunities for €¦ oh, I don’t know €¦ progression, maybe … or perhaps gaining from them insight that endows our own progression?
An abridged version of “Bird in the Hand” was published in 2007 in Glyphs III, a regional anthology containing writings by local writers and visitors to southeastern Utah’s redrock country that Moab Poets and Writers publishes every two years. I’ve written more about MP &W here.
In July 2005 my brother Jim and I threw camping gear into his new Toyota 4Runner and headed for a canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The object of our trip: try out the 4Runner on real four-wheel-drive roads and see petroglylphs at the canyon’s mouth. We arrived at the canyon at dusk and as evening fell helped each other wrestle up tents in a whipping canyon wind. Continue reading “Bird in the hand”
Posts in this series are semi-polished exerpts from the pocket-sized hiking journal I carry when I go out walking in local canyons, etc. If something interesting happens or a bolt from the blue strikes, I pull out the old journal and get down the basics. I’ve left Field Notes elsewhere around the bloggernacle, such as here and here, but I thought that for Wilderness Interface Zone and simplicity’s sake we’d just start over again at #1.
As always, if you, dear reader, have field notes or vivid memories of trips taken, you’re invited to make entries you’d like to share in the comments section.
February 18, 2009, a.m. Approaching the trailhead into Crossfire, I glance at the knoll northeast where reposes the horse skeleton. My eye catches a flash of movement. I stop. Small deer maybe? No. The tail end of some other kind of animal slips into a juniper’s scant cover. Will the animal reveal itself?
Wait for it. Continue reading “Field notes #1”
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?”