Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World

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9781592283279: Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World

Riveting, finely crafted essays about family and the natural world, and winner of the 2000 Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award.

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Review:

Kathleen Moore is many things: an academic, a philosopher, an amateur naturalist, and a subtle observer of such things as tides and lightning. From her haunts on the coast of Oregon she borrows a useful term, "holdfast," to knit together her many interests into an ethic for life. A holdfast, she writes, is a "fist of knobby fingers" that allows bullwhip kelp to cling to the wave-washed ocean floor; it is also a metaphor for her charged view that humans need to stick a little closer to home in all matters. "We professors, who should be studying connection, study distinctions instead," she writes. "When people lock themselves in their houses at night and seal the windows shut to keep out storms, it is possible to forget, sometimes for years and years, that human beings are part of the natural world." The finely honed essays in this collection speak to reclaiming that awareness, taking the life of marshes and tidal estuaries, the silence of the prairie, and the song of the canyon wren as subjects, but also paying attention to such things as baking bread with loved ones and making time to look at the world for oneself. --Gregory McNamee

From the Back Cover:

With the finely honed skills of an essayist, the heightened sensibility of a naturalist, and the carefully reasoned mind of a philosopher, Kathleen Dean Moore examines our connections to what we hold most dear. In a quest for the metaphorical holdfast-the structures at the end of seaweed strands that attach to rocks with a grip that even ocean gales cannot rend-Moore seeks to understand that which affixes her firmly to family and place.
In twenty-one elegant, probing essays, she meditates on connection and separation: the sense of brotherhood fostered by communal wolf howls; the inevitability of losing our children to their own lives; her own mischievousness as she takes candy from her unwitting students on Halloween; the sublimity of life and longing in the creatures of the sea; her agonizing decision when facing her father's death. She is joyous, playful, and mournful. As Moore travels geographically-from the Oregon shores to Alaska-and philosophically, she leaves no doubt of her virtuosity and range.

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Kathleen Dean Moore
Published by Lyons Press (2004)
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Moore, Kathleen Dean
Published by Lyons Press (2004)
ISBN 10: 1592283276 ISBN 13: 9781592283279
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