Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Far Away and Long Ago (in Craftsbury Common, Vermont to be exact) Annie Proulx started a writing workshop and talked me into being the first instructor, though I had never taught anything before.

Two of my students published good books this year. Both are far wiser and older than I, and have written before, but at least I didn't ruin them!

Ron Lanner is a retired botanist, originally from Brooklyn but who taught in Utah for many years. He now lives in the Sierras, so it is appropriate that his latest, The Bristlecone Book, is about that legendarily long- lived Great Basin conifer.

And WHY are they so long- lived? I had never much thought about it, but the simple answer is amazing. "Unlike most other living things, they show no signs of senescence, or degeneration over time. These trees do not die of old age; they die when something kills them".

You might also take a look at this one, about the symbiosis between birds and nut- bearing pines, i. e. birds & food. Any wonder why it is a favorite? But any and all of his are worth getting.

Another book by a Wildbranch alumnus came out earlier in the year when I was deep in the eagle work. Carl von Essen is an MD and fisherman who has worked and fished all over the world (he is the only friend of mine who has caught the legendary Mahseer* of India), while employed by the W. H. O. . His latest is called The Hunter's Trance, and is a discussion of the altered state of awareness familiar to all of us who hunt and fish consciously. He compares it to other "mystical" experiences and theorizes that it fosters Biophilia. The originator of the term, Edward Wilson, agrees, and says so on the cover.

Carl's other book is pure fun: The Revenge of the Fishgod. It is about fishing around the world, from New Mexico to India. I blurbed it.

* A favorite book title: "Circumventing the Mahseer".

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