American Nature Writing 2002 by John A. Murray

American Nature WritingThis offers a varied set of ruminations on nature experiences, starting with the search for eagles soaring on the Orkney coast. I live in the city, though, and was delighted to find that many of the essays explore nature closer to my experiences. There are pergrine falcons in Manhattan, spring coming to am Arizona desert suburb, finding beauty on the streets of (again!) New York city.

My favorite is ”On the Contrary,” an account of a couple who move from Los Angeles with the goal of living in a responsible and environmentally correct way, with a garden and sheep. Of course, they assumed, living close to nature would not prevent them from meeting friends for dinner in Beverly Hills, although the sudden discovery of a morbund sheep one day did make those plans a bit difficult. The author reflects on the gap between the dream that city dwellers often have of rural life, with our naivete about what living in the country really entails- floods that wash out roads, prolonged electrical outages, and the question of what to do with that troublesome sheep. Charming, but also provokes thoughts about our relationships with nature.

Reviewed by Sarav

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