At Home in the Natural World
With the finely honed skills of an essayist, the heightened sensibility of a naturalist, and the carefully reasoned mind of a philosopher, Kathleen Dean Moore examines our connections to what we most deeply value. In a quest for the metaphorical holdfast—the structure at the end of seaweed strands that attach to rocks with a grip that even ocean gales cannot rend—Moore seeks to understand what holds her firmly to family and place.
In twenty elegant, probing essays, she meditates on connection and separation: the sense of brotherhood fostered by communal wolf howls; the inevitability of losing our children to their own lives; her own mischievousness as she takes candy from her unwitting students on Halloween; the sublimity of life and longing in the creatures of the sea; her agonizing decision when facing her father’s death. She is joyous, playful, and mournful. From the Oregon coast she calls home to Alaskan shores, Moore travels geographically and philosophically, leaving no doubt of her virtuosity and range. (Publisher’s description)
“We must love life, as Dostoyevsky told us. We must love life, and some meaning may grow from that love. But ‘if love of life disappears, no meaning can console us.’
“What is it all for, this magnifying-glass-in-the-sun focus on being, this marshland, this wetness, this stewpot, this great splashing and thrusting, this determination among the willows, the colors, the plumage, the effort, the noise, the complexity that leaves no note.
“Nothing, I think, except to continue.
“This is the testimony of the marsh: Life directs all its power to one end, and that is to continue to be. A marsh at nightfall is life loving itself. Nothing more. But nothing less, either, and we should not be fooled into thinking this is a small thing.”
Listen to the audio here.