By John R. Campbell

A set of forty four prose meditations encouraged by way of the transitory and bird-rich setting of the Klamath marshes at the Oregon/California border. "In order to simply accept the large accountability that comes of being on the earth, we needs to first conceive, inspite of the entire stumbling blocks, the kingdom of truly being the world." it really is consequently that John R. Campbell got here to the Klamath marshes, a wetland in southern Oregon shaped by means of 3 old, shallow lakes, an enormous vacancy that's satirically domestic to an grand variety of existence, of untold hundreds of thousands of birds either migratory and resident, of the entire interconnected existence kinds that make up one in every of North America's richest usual environments. Absence and lightweight is Campbell's account of his exploration of the marshes and a meditation at the global he came upon there, on his starting to be realizing of the actual, emotional, ethical, and aesthetic which means of that global, on his personal progress as a guy. via Campbell's eyes, we notice the stirring and striking fantastic thing about the marshes and their creatures, and the utter poignancy in their fragility sooner than the heedless targets of humankind. this is often nature writing at its such a lot profound and relocating, writing that during reading and defining the area of nature is helping us to appreciate the very advanced and contradictory realities of being human. Campbell's luminous descriptions and mystical insights will lengthy linger within the reader's reminiscence.

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Sample text

A single maple sprawled just outside, its yellow leaves, bigger than hands, falling one by one on the hospital lawn. My dad was clearly dying now, and he wanted only comfort amid the 32 chaos of his ruin. Propped pillows, ice chips, the oxygen mask removed. He could recognize all of us but preferred mostly not to talk. As I sat with him hour after hour, reading and watching his štful sleep, I grew as quiet and as increasingly plain as the maple outside. absence and light It was then I noticed the geese grazing on the lawns.

A slender šsh seeks their shade. The trees arrange themselves in rows, hugging the straight irrigation ditches like spectators at a small-town parade, gawking unself-consciously with their entire selves, with even the hidden roots that grope for water. I used to long for old trees, their gnarls, as if God the father might be found there, or a nativity inside a knot. I wanted possibility to ensue from solidity. Now I feel a better passion, one poised in between earth a b s e n c es and heaven. I sense the energy enunciated in sex, the swirling emptiness that emerges from bleached ribs, from the air around a rising egret’s neck, from autumn willows like these.

Rosellen Brown, in a piece called “Expatriates,” says: “The Donner party, stranded high there in a deep crack between Nevada and California, bottomless winter drifted against the door of their dream of lying down by the Pacišc—if they broke the šnal taboo and ate the ¦esh of their companions . . it was because they were nowhere. . The sky was white, the earth was white, they must have seen white when they squinted and closed their starved eyes. Earth’s absence, before they’d relinquished the earth.

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