Taking his cue from Thoreau's "Walden," editor John A. Murray proclaims that nature writing enables us to savor communion, a bonding with the natural world; renewal, the revival of our worn-out spirits; and liberation, the release from oppressiveness of our everyday burdens and responsibilities. This volume is the sixth annual collection of "new and distinguished voices in contemporary nature writing" (formerly published by Sierra Club Books). It brings together 18 essays covering a variety of geographical areas, including Tibet, New Mexico, Alaska, and New England.
Murray is committed to publishing new nature writers, and there are some talented authors here. Natasha Ma (a pseudonym) writes of the destruction of Tibet's ecosystem by the Chinese who are guilty of deforestation, uranium mining, pasture degradation, and the reduction of biodiversity. John Noland's lyrical essay "The Way of a River" conveys the spiritual dimensions of this natural force. Ken Lamerton's spirit is lifted in prison thanks to birdwatching. Veteran naturalist David Petersen reveals the adventure of encountering grizzlies in Glacier Natural Park. These excellent essays tutor us in the spiritual practices of attention, reverence, and wonder.