cover image The Wild Within: Adventures in Nature and Animal Teachings

The Wild Within: Adventures in Nature and Animal Teachings

Paul Rezendes. Putnam Publishing Group, $24.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-0-87477-931-8

Rezendes (Tracking and the Art of Seeing) takes readers on a hauntingly beautiful journey into the woods of the American Northeast. Drawing on his treks taken alone, with experienced nature adventurers and with neophyte students, he depicts a variety of human encounters with bears, loons, deer, bobcats, coyotes, fox and moose, and ultimately, with the nature of the universe, life, humanity and self. He also brings an uncommon wisdom and depth of insight to his chronicle, explicating the Zen principles of patience, compassion, silence and stillness; of the web of all that exists; and of awareness of the present moment. The author's unusual background (he was at various times a leader of two motorcycle gangs, a devout Catholic and a spiritual ascetic, teaching hatha yoga and founding a Jainist ashram) gives him a fresh, unexpected viewpoint. Rezendes offers a glimpse into the ""wild within"" through quietly ""stalking"" wild animals--not to kill them, but to observe and learn from them. The meaning of love is illustrated by a pair of loons, spiritual connection by a moose, and ""true intelligence"" by a coyote; their lessons, as interpreted by the author, are profound and unforgettable. Includes striking nature photographs by Rezendes. Agents, Gail Ross and Howard Yoon. (Jan.)