Synopses & Reviews
In an effort to make sense of the deaths in quick succession of several loved ones, Kathleen Dean Moore turned to the comfort of the wild, making a series of solitary excursions into ancient forests, wild rivers, remote deserts, and windswept islands to learn what the environment could teach her in her time of pain. This book is the record of her experience. Its a stunning collection of carefully observed accounts of her life &dmash; tracking otters on the beach, cooking breakfast in the desert, canoeing in a snow squall, wading among migrating salmon in the dark — but it is also a profound meditation on the healing power of nature. In the wonder of the rush of water over rocks, in the joy over the sight of a cougar in a cow field, Moore finds the solace that comes from connection to the natural world, and from that astonishingly intimate connection arise hope and courage, healing and gratitude.
Moore is a respected and important figure among contemporary literary naturalists. Her precise and satisfying prose is a vehicle for evoking the deeper meaning of nature in our lives. “The Earth holds every possibility inside it,” she writes, “and the mystery of transformation, one thing to another. This is the wildest comfort.”
"With attention to the smallest details of the natural world, this very personal book unites our emotional world with the world that surrounds us." Sierra Club’s blog The Green Life
“Wild Comfort is a richly poetic book, tipsy with life, and Moore a wonderful guide to the wilderness and our own wildness. It’s a book brimming with wonder, sorrow, happiness, and the intricate designs of nature that can surprise and sustain us all.” Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper’s Wife
" As talented as Moore proves herself to be, some of her essays strain to rise above the merely personal. In other instances, her writing can feel overtly poetic, or ideas intended as profound fall short of the mark.
Structurally, Wild Comfort longs to be a cohesive whole — 'a vessel big enough to hold everyone and their grief.' Overall, it feels like discrete pieces fitted and framed together as best as can be. One indication is that images recur because they were included in essays written years apart. Snow hides. Flounders emerge. Shadows are everywhere." Joseph Bednarik, The Oregonian (Read the entire Oregonian review)
About the Author
Kathleen Dean Moore lives in Oregon, at the confluence of two rivers, and, during the summer months, she resides in a little cabin at the edge of a southeast Alaskan inlet. As an essayist, activist, and professor, she brings together natural history, philosophical ideas, and creative expression in a search for loving ways to live on the earth. She has published three books of personal essays about living in the lively places where water meets land: Riverwalking, Holdfast, and The Pine Island Paradox. Her essays can be found in many journals, including Audubon, Discover, Orion, and the New York Times Magazine. Moore is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State, where she teaches courses on environmental thought and ethics. She is also the cofounder and director of Oregon States Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word.