cover image The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness

The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness

Gary Ferguson. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $25 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61902-448-9

Ever-evocative nature writer Ferguson (Shouting at the Sky) pens a memoir that doubles as an intensely personal, sweet, and melancholy love song to his lost beloved and to the wild places of America. Though there is grief in this remarkable tribute, the net effect is more joy than sadness. Ferguson shares the story of his journey to five locations where his wife, Jane, a park ranger and wilderness guide, wanted her ashes spread after her death in a river canoeing accident. He intersperses this narrative with stories from their 25 years of a “life brilliantly off-balance” together, culling from both of their travel journals and offering the anecdotes long-term couples share over dinner with new friends. In the background, observations of both the timelessness of nature and of the moods of a whole generation of itinerant nature lovers—in this case frustrated by the politics of wolf management and logging concerns—give a quiet universality to Ferguson’s private thoughts. As in the best nature writing, the human experience becomes infinitesimally small and yet paramount, the “mythical shining through the mundane.” Ferguson has lovingly invested Jane’s memory with “unspeakable tenderness,” both the aspects of a goddess and of a leaf fallen gently to the ground. [em](Nov.) [/em]