cover image On Nature's Terms: Contemporary Voices

On Nature's Terms: Contemporary Voices

Thomas J. Lyon / Author, Barry Holstun Lopez / Author, Terry Tempest Wil

The best selections in this collection of 20 essays, tales and explorations (most reprinted from the journal Witness , which Stine edits) fulfill Lyon's belief that nature writing ``reminds us of . . . the simple capacity of being here and experiencing.'' Such essays let readers share the joy of discovery, such as of a rare cactus, or the sense of rage that ensues with the destruction of an ecosystem. Stephen Trimble describes touchingly the difference a companion--wife, child or even dog--makes in how one perceives the wilderness. Rick Bass's depiction of a few summer days in northwestern Montana--floating for trout, saving his dogs from a porcupine's quills--creates a pastoral cocoon in which readers are enfolded. Charles Bowden asks disturbing questions about mountain lions, humans and the lust for the kill. Unfortunately, too many of the essays hector rather than enlighten. Marcia Bonta forces her comparison between the ``sane world of nature . . . and the often insane world of humanity,'' and William Kittredge pens a simplistic call to live more harmoniously, like the Native Americans of yore. Lyon edits the journal Western American Literature . (Oct.)