AT ONE WITH THE NATURAL WORLD Barry Lopez has brought a Catholic sensibility to his award-winning writing about sustaining the natural environment.

O'Connell, Nicholas

AT ONE WITH THE NATURAL WORLD Barry Lopez's adventure with the word & the wild Nicholas O'Connell hey never saw it coming. Barry Lopez and three boat into the open...

...Waves burst over the top land on the North Slope of Alaska, one of the of the boat...
...Each of his twelve books of nature, with the animal Lopez offers a refreshing sense of fiction and nonfiction repre- world, with the landscape, sents a search for such a pas- of hope and possibility...
...Taking advantage of a momentary shift in the ice, they managed to force the boat through a narrow passage...
...He fingered the truck his writing as a kind of prayer, his way of living a virtuous life key strung with steel wire and a climber's metal chock...
...There's a connection in his work between the physical formed into the stuff of the desert landscape, symbolizing his and metaphysical...
...These gifts from native peoples serve as Dialogue about what JVC means for Jesuits, a way of bringing the outside world into the truck...
...with the entire range of natursage...
...he asks...
...We rode our bikes out as far as which demonstrated that other cultures approached quesPorter Ranch, the rural fringes of valley settlement where tions of natural history and geography in the same way I braceros worked the fields and where encounters with coy- preferred," he said...
...the narrator's application Winter to set in...
...break from typing up his latest manuscript, Light Action in the Caribbean, a collection of short stories...
...We know from science that the uni- forest adjacent to his home went up for sale...
...In the sixth century Saint Brendan set off from opic and selfish people have not destroyed us with nuclear the west coast of Ireland in a small currach made of wicker weapons is that, in a rarefied and metaphorical way, there and oxhide to search for the Isles of the Blessed...
...This violence toward the wolf and the wilderness it carnation, that God has taken human flesh in the form of represents will end only when human beings come to terms Christ...
...Finally, they heaved and lifted and shoved the Nicholas O'Connell, a freelance writer in Seattle, is the author of At the Field's End: Interviews with Twenty-two Pacific Northwest Writers (University of Washington Press, 1998...
...Lest they become yet another footnote in out of the boat and into the camp, where he ate dinner and the long record of Arctic disasters, they had to find a way to fell asleep...
...He did, however, meet an important men"Adventure unfolded in fruit orchards and wisteria tor in Professor Barre Toelken, a specialist in folklore, who hedges, in horse pastures and haylofts, and around farm- introduced him to North American Indian myths...
...Now that number is Prayer and liturgy down to a thousand, about nine hundred of which spawn on For more information JVC: East 215-232-0300 the McKenzie near my property...
...He enSouthern California...
...The rural land- he found the program pretentious and dropped out after scape there made a lasting impression on him...
...Lopez's vision of commuSuch questions pervade his fic- nity as encompassing the nontion and nonfiction, from early works such as Desert Notes: human as well as the human world is central to that of an Reflections in the Eye of a Raven (1976) to About This Life: Journeys emerging movement in Catholic theology and social teachon the Threshold of Memory (1998...
...sources are not its timber, fur, fish, and mineral wealth, but a "It's a kind of love-agape-between me and the place," sense of belonging on the North American continent...
...A growing number of relitian virtues of hope, dignity, and charity...
...He pored over the Coyote local farms, rivers, and mountains...
...Local timber verse is finite, not infinite...
...The same year it was published (1986), the nov- seen as a component of community," he said...
...The work goes much further than previous treatfor discussing larger issues is part of what makes ments of the subject, using wolf biology, Native American beL him so highly regarded as an author...
...Michael Jewell Despite its Catholic qualities, Lopez's work has gained renown primarily as natural history, not religious literature...
...They don't offer me any- Jesuit Volunteer Corps: East thing as a writer...
...But it was also the legacy of a kind of desire that tran- Berry, Passionist priest, author of The Great Work: Our Way scends heroics and which was into the Future (1999), and the privately known to many-the leading Catholic figure in the desire for a safe and honorable field of ecology and spiritualipassage through the world...
...When it doesn't, you weary...
...The treatment of Lopez uses natural history to broach questions about every- wolves serves as an especially notorious example: "Throughthing from living a virtuous life to responsibilities toward a out history man has externalized his bestial nature, finding community...
...Before they realized what was happening, the wind had torn the seams in the shoulder of his parka while freeing pushed a large ice floe toward them, sealing them off from the boat...
...he and his wife Sandra bought it thirty years ago...
...The Way of Heaven By addressing such issues in terms of landscape, Lopez follows a long tradition in American literature...
...Two hundred fifty thousand salmon once came Howard Gray, SJ up the Willamette," he said somberly...
...Fluorescent green moss hung from the trees, clung As the truck passed out of the Willamette National Forest to their bark, and filled the cracks in the pavement along the old growth gave way to gravel washes, alder thickets, Highway 126, which hugs the banks of the McKenzie River...
...environment is to his narratives, they finally turn on issues What does it mean to care for creation...
...regard to human society and the nonhuman world that enBut the book's visibility and grandiosity also provoked compasses it...
...But where to wear thin at that section Thoreau and other Trancendentalists like Ralph Waldo of carpet upon which Emerson considered nature divine, Lopez considers it simhe tends to walk ply one manifestation of God's presence, though he admits to recognizing that presence more easily in nature than in most frequently...
...think of prayer as larger than that...
...There must be moments in your life opez's sensitivity to the plight of the McKenzie when you are saying your prayers better, and that's what River Valley and the rest of the nonhuman writing is for me...
...The men erected a canvas shelter to shield themmost desolate and remote regions of the planet...
...work," says Brian Doyle, a friend of Lopez and the editor of They move closer the less he tries Portland Magazine, "either as setting and costumed character, to keep them in focus, pilgrims like J.F...
...I think Christianity requires that the entire parcel, putting the land in trust so that it could we acknowledge the finitude of nature, but see it as sacra- never be logged or developed...
...His work attempts to reconcile an intimate The signs are clear, according to Lopez, that we have failed and scientific knowledge of the physical world with Chris- in our stewardship of the earth...
...These trips encouraged a sensitivity to what he calls "classical" landscapes-deserts, the Arctic, and the Antarctic...
...They peeled extra food, extra clothing, a tent, sleeping bags, and other off his wet garments, dressed him in dry wool clothing, and survival equipment, including a radio...
...recent doings of the neighborhood...
...His writing is filled with sacramentality: the idea with the wilderness in themselves, as Saint Francis sugthat ordinary physical things mediate the holy...
...I just drift...
...He parked, got out of the truck, creches brightened the somber landscape...
...But we must have a moral rela'nature writers'-REVERENCE, tionship with the land, rather AWE, PIETY, MYSTICAL ONENESS...
...Catholic notion of an ocean of grace available to us in our Their presence helps to calm him brokenness and struggle (Andre Dubus...
...It's about relationsounds, smells, and sensations around him...
...The idea that the world of night they lead him toward is suffused with divine grace, that God is in everything (not their gleaming city, existing that God is everything, which is pantheism) and thus all beyond a range of seemingly things are precious and priceless and holy, is at the root of impenetrable mountains...
...After the couple divorced recently, Lopez discouraged anyone from visiting the place, including me, someone who has known him and followed his A JVC-JESUIT FORUM ON THE work for fifteen years...
...As he puts it: "I grew up in a flected on the incident...
...a scapegoat upon which he could heap his sins and whose "It's hard for me to imagine a contemporary writer more sacrificial death would be his atonement...
...Most of us, I think, believe that it is something else...
...Forgency...
...He attended Loyola, a Jesuit prep school on the Upper East Side, where he studied Latin, history, English literature, French, art, and science...
...What is the place of the human in nature...
...Despite the chilly weather, Lopez drove his 1989 gray "It's difficult to see this because it fills me with grief," he Toyota 4Runner with the sunroof open, letting the winter said, indicating the cutover valley that provides habitat for air wash over him...
...When the others shouted that they had moving in, they had no idea of how far the pack ice might reached Pingok, he realized he was safe...
...We have taken the most His next book, Arctic Dreams, addresses these is- obvious kind of wealth from this continent and overlooked sues even more directly...
...Gone were the orchards, truck farms, and grasslands of his childhood...
...Dressed warmly in a green Patagonia beaver, elk, deer, mountain lion, lynx, skunk, bobcat, salmon, jacket, brown scarf, purple shirt, blue jeans, and brown cow- as well as human beings...
...Powers's priests, or discernible in the relentless purfrom a far-off country suit of the Christ in the most troubled and odd of us (Flannery O'Connor), or in the heartfelt urge to portray the very come to drink from a Holy Well...
...On these walks he often North America for its spiritual wealth if we are ever to feel at stops and bows deeply, aware of the privileges and rehome here...
...He's trying for a synthesis of the spirit and the maThe narrator's patience is rewarded as his hands are trans- terial...
...it in our sense of community...
...and the natural world are preand powerless among us...
...of the desert, much as the desert father Saint Anthony sought Desert Notes is an excellent introduction to Lopez's work...
...Barry Lopez and three boat into the open water...
...An image I have much greater hardships, traversing the forbidding land- from childhood is of a group of men and women praying scape in flimsy crafts without adequate clothing or survival somewhere in the desert, and the reason chronically myequipment...
...It was wrenching for him at age eleven when his family took up residence in Manhattan, after his mother remarried...
...toward the nonhuman world...
...Then he turned the key, started the truck, yourself and a spiritual entity or entities," he says...
...The work I wanted to do with my life-I didn't have anything specific in mind-I was going to do outside...
...spiritual secrets of the landscape...
...Several hundred yards ahead, he raised his ice chisel to signal that he had found one...
...I'm in trouble if I'm in my room too CHESTNUT HILL, MASSACHUSETTS much," he admitted...
...sent in a single community of What are our responsibilities existence...
...than an exploitive one...
...AT ONE WITH THE NATURAL WORLD Barry Lopez's adventure with the word & the wild Nicholas O'Connell hey never saw it coming...
...You expect to wait...
...tuality at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Lopez sees this treatment of the wolf as a microcosm of author of The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Ho- mankind's treatment of the wilderness as a whole...
...Though he decided against monastic life, he found the The winter light was fading...
...And if Saint Augustine is right that companies were on the verge of buying it when he began we long for the infinite, then that longing cannot be satisfied bidding for the land...
...The wolf liness in Early Christian Monasticism (1993...
...jvceast@aol.com and www.ignatianpartners.org After letting that sink in, he drove across a wooden bridge Commonweal 1 3 March 24, 2000 the Grand Canyon...
...The others chopped madly at the ice, trying to keep it away from the props...
...You can't have he makes his home...
...er to the heart of this mystery...
...This Commonweal 16 March 24, 2000 admission of what is essentially Original Sin is a necessary the material, tangible wealth of North America-the gold step in ending the cycle of violence against the wilderness and the silver, the timber, the fish, and the furs...
...You cant have a consumption-based culture unless you Lopez had spent the morning running errands, taking a have an immoral relationship with nonhuman species...
...It's not an IN CELEBRATION OF THE opposition to them," he explained...
...and new second-growth trees...
...vate an appreciation for the weakness for "the vatic note, It's about relationships...
...This am- the mystery of wild landscapes and people's remarkable exbitious approach gives the book a far-reaching significance periences of them...
...these things from exploding, perhaps, is that each of us in his After pondering the example of Brendan and other Arctic ex- own way is saying his prayers...
...Skirting the selves from the water and hunkered down to endure the ride edges of the pack ice in the Beaufort Sea, they concentrated back to Pingok...
...ing operations, truck gardens, and chicken ranches," he "Toelken pointed me toward anthropological research wrote in About This Life...
...0 Commonweal 1 7 March 24, 2000...
...the man's work...
...Morning...
...But they realized pushed him underneath the tarp to protect him from the elthat, even if someone heard their distress signal, they had no ements...
...The desert is like a boul- here: the identification of the narrator as a seeker after the der...
...You can a local landscape and including get so caught up in the natural with nonhuman species...
...Ron Weber, a professor in American studies there, remembers him as "a strong student-intense, independent, ambitious-within a group of other strong students who took writing seriously and had genuine intellectual interests...
...He has such an intitic history, but also Lopez him- and a glib nihilism frequently prevails, mate presence with the world self...
...But I and drove back down into the gathering darkness...
...He's deeply marily as a nature writer, his to reconcile an intimate sensitive to how the human work always poses large ethi- and scientific knowledge mind and emotions meet with cal questions: What does it of the physical world the reality of the nonhuman...
...Or is real and beginning to fit the wilderness into a moral framework...
...Groundfrequently prevails, Lopez offers a refreshing sense of hope water contamination...
...At the end of the introduction, the narrator ob- soon caught the attention of the larger literary world...
...How can we discern them...
...I recognize God in the place and I "What does it mean to be rich...
...ships...
...Soil erosion...
...What keeps him to cross the Arctic landscape in such an exposed boat...
...plorers, Lopez later concluded in Arctic Dreams: Imagination Lopez's attempt to address issues of ethics and spirituality and Desire in a Northern Landscape (1986), a National Book through stories about the natural world makes his work of Award-winner: 'Arctic history became for me, then, a lega- particular interest to Catholics...
...The book opens with the uncompromised spiritual self, a self often buried beneath unnamed narrator stating his desire to discover the secrets the conventions and distractions of modern urban life...
...This tendency is present in Several years ago, Lopez got a chance to do something some nature writing...
...He came to understand ments before getting back in the truck...
...The reason I object is partly religious for his own landscape...
...Heavy metals pollution...
...He dragged himself drift to the east...
...Logging "They just butchered up to the national forest," he said, trucks roared by on their way to a mill outside of Eugene...
...serves: "One morning as I stood watching the sun rise, "He's a nature writer, but he has philosophic and metawashing out the blue black, watching the white crystalline physical overtones," said Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harpstars fade, my bare legs quivering in the cool air, I noticed my er's, one of the first national magazines to publish Lopez's hands had begun to crack and turn to dust...
...Treating the environment as a metaphor as well as a landscape frustrates these attempts...
...Where fallen petals human society...
...Barry Lopez's works have a cy of desire-the desire of individual men to achieve their profound relationship with Catholic thought," says Thomas goals...
...work...
...After graduation, he went on to the University of Notre Dame...
...We have an obligation of respect and reverence bepropensity to doubt...
...with conical hats "To me a 'Catholic writer' is someone who uses the conthat shade their faces emerge cerns and/or traditions of the Catholic faith in his or her from the threadbare whiteness...
...You expect night to come...
...This profile is the third in a series examining the lives of men and women who in their work or art struggle with the fundamental tensions of religious belief and practice in the modern world...
...destroy it and impoverish ourselves as a result...
...and, finally, the narrator's The narrator senses that the place contains mysterious di- change in attitude as he comes into contact with the mysmensions...
...Australia, he continues to cultiennes complained of Lopez's It's about community...
...Lopez Presentations of findings of studies on the stopped on a bluff above the river to point out a blue high- connection between the JVC experience and way sign directing how cutting, spraying, and maintenance spirituality and life choices work should be done to minimize disturbance to spawning Keynote speakers John Staudenmaier, SJ and salmon...
...He went as far as visiting Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where the Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton lived, in 1966...
...Though she didn't mention Though Lopez often deLopez by name, others have scribes himself as "a writer who leveled similar charges against Ecology is not just travels," making trips to the his work...
...He came to revel in the heady intellectual atmosphere of New York City...
...How are we to the manner in which humans treat others, especially the weak of hope, dignity, and charity...
...wealth, lasting wealth, something else...
...Though he's known pri- His work attempts al phenomenon...
...Lopez went to look for another escape route...
...When thirty feet of ice stood in their way, they used ice anchors, lines, and a block and tackle to pull the 3,000-pound craft out of the water, across the ice and into the next channel...
...An intensely private man, almost JVC EXPERIENCE AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS monkish in his devotion to solitude, he apologetically explained, "There's a stillness there I want to preserve...
...He has put his sacramental and incarnational than Barry Lopez," says Dou- sins of greed, lust, and deception on the wolf and put the glas Burton-Christie, associate professor of Christian spiri- wolf to death-in literature, in folklore, and in real life...
...By the time the boat reached him, however, this channel had narrowed...
...Is it to possess love the place because of it...
...In his book-length essay The Having done his part to protect his corner of the American Rediscovery of North America (1990), Lopez asserts that we must landscape, Lopez is now free to cultivate an intimate knowlgo beyond an obsession with the material wealth of the con- edge of it...
...He still pecks away at an IBM Selectric...
...They widened the passage with ice chisels and gunned the boat's twin ninety-horsepower engines, trying desperately to reach open water...
...the first semester...
...Commonweal I I March 24, 2000 After the storm passed, Lopez walked the beach and re- of Notre Dame education...
...He works out of a two-bedroom cedar- 25th Anniversary shake house overlooking the river...
...You can get an idea of the succession by looking down t was winter in western Oregon...
...One of the men positioned the prow of the boat against the seaward ice, revved the engines, and widened the gap to six feet...
...L world grew out of his early upbringing in Lopez subsequently married and moved West...
...This effort to yoke gious leaders, theologians, and lay people look to his work together such seemingly disparate traditions grows out of his and that of other nature writers for a sense of how to achieve Roman Catholic upbringing and his Jesuit and University a respectful, responsible relationship with the planet...
...ty...
...How can we overcome our the earth...
...Lopez sees Though sometimes overly explicit-some might say the exploitation of the Arctic as an extension of the ex- preachy-about such themes, Lopez's stories resonate with ploitation of the entire North American continent...
...But Lopez gained much in the process...
...Last year in the Lon- Arctic, Antarctica, Africa, and don Review of Books, William Fi- about endangered species...
...JUNE 16-18, 2000 Lopez was perfectly willing, however, to provide a tour of what he calls his "neighborhood," the forested slopes along BOSTON COLLEGE the McKenzie River...
...The research and writing of this profile are supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment...
...His is one of the best This desire for a safe and In a postmodern culture achievements of what you honorable passage through the where the possibility of knowledge might call Western Christian world animates not only Arc- is often denied thinking...
...The physical setting for human life has to be criticism...
...be missing in the larger culture...
...to know God through prayer, fasting, and self-mortifica- Many of his narrative strategies find their first expression tion: "The land does not give easily...
...He wants to unlock these secrets quickly, but the tery...
...Only when he ap- subject, these strategies pushed the limits of nature writing...
...The truck crept along in first gear, alWilliams, Lopez has helped spark a crucial debate about lowing him to spot a bird flitting through the undergrowth, the systematic destruction of the global environment and a newly fallen tree, a collection of alder branches stripped of what churches and other religious communities should do their bark by the beavers that live on Quartz Creek-all the about it...
...I walk the road...
...What drove have been these enclaves of monastics praying...
...His recent fiction and nonfiction inthat helps explain why it has become the most influential creasingly concern the responsibilities of community, both in of all his works...
...In it Lopez argues that the more lasting, the more valuable and sustaining experiunless our civilization finds some way of com- ence of intimacy with it, the spiritual dimension of a reing to terms with the land, we will continue to sponsible involvement with this place...
...It syntheMountains, Zuma Beach, Big Bear Lake, Hoover Dam, and sizes many aspects of his background: his early memories of Commonweal 14 March 24, 2000 Southern California deserts, his inclination toward desert Scriptures and Jesus and John the Baptist in the New Testamonasticism, and his interest in Coyote tales...
...A fit, strong, barrel-chested man Roman Catholic tradition, and was deeply affected by it...
...The way he stud- was trapped and killed because it epitomized the wilderies something carefully, intensively, and then articulates it so ness that settlers sought to tame and replace with farms and that a reader can feel its power reflects the mystery of the In- ranches...
...Parkas, former volunteers, the church, the world clothing, and outdoor equipment fill the back seats...
...But this channel, too, was closing...
...proaches it in a humble, oblique, and respectful manner Lopez's willingness to address issues of dignity, tolerance, does it reveal itself to him...
...Once you elist Joyce Carol Oates blasted contemporary nature writ- tear human life out of a physical context, people become ing as inspiring "a painfully limited set of responses in the playthings of tyrants...
...The University of Dayton announces the presentation of the 2000 Marianist Award to Marcia L. Colish a Catholic scholar who has made an outstanding contribution to the intellectual life Previous recipients of the Marianist Award John Tracy Ellis, 1986 Walter J. Ong, S.J., 1989 Monika K. Hellwig, 1993 Gustavo Gutierrez, 1997 Rosemary Haughton, 1987 Sidney Callahan, 1990 Philip Gleason, 1994 David Tracy, 1998 Timothy O'Meara, 1988 John T. Noonan Jr., 1991 J. Bryan Hehir, 1995 Jill Ker Conway, 1999 Louis Dupre, 1992 Charles Taylor, 1996 Commonweal 15 March 24, 2000 pressed to think of a theologian giving us a more powerful vision of those issues...
...and possibility...
...His mother encouraged tales, analyzed their structure, and learned how to make the this appreciation of landscape, taking him and his younger land come alive through story...
...As the truck passed through the drippy, filtered I tains and a fine sheen of rain on the lower forestslight of the forest canopy, Lopez enumerated the local of alder, Douglas fir, Western hemlock, and Western red plants-"sword fern, bracken fern, deer fern, licorice fern...
...I try to immerse myself in this place...
...Lopez lingered for a few mo- austere lifestyle an important model...
...But moved to the northern San Fernando Valley...
...ment strengthened and purified themselves in the desert, This spare, sensual, paradoxical work serves as the blue- so too the narrator of Desert Notes comes to life through the print for the rest of his oeuvre...
...Religious commuof metaphysics...
...possibility of knowledge is often denied and a glib nihilism Global warming...
...Melville's Moby He contemplates the patterns of rose Dick, Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat," and Thoreau's and chrysanthemum beginning Walden pose similar questions in the same way...
...I have a constant sense of grief about boy boots, he didn't seem bothered by the cold...
...His sense of the sacramental quality of nacover a surface of indeterminate ture, its ability to mediate between the human and the divine, depth, and acacia trees accounts for his work's resemblance to that of Catholic writcatch the wind, he sees men ers like Gerard Manley Hopkins...
...His 1978 book, Of Wolves and Men, won the prestigious John Burroughs Medal for nature writing and earned Lopez a reputation as one of the most promising young figures in opez's use of natural history as a springboard the field...
...He believes Such criticisms grow out of a consumption-based culture that we can get in touch with Lopez's occasional tendency to unless you have the larger spiritual dimensions see nature as divine, rather than an immoral relationship in our lives by coming to know a sign of the divine...
...What are the trustworthy patterns in this nities are bringing out the dimension that we are stewards of life...
...Instead, like the relationships destroyed by all this...
...Ecology is not just about a wolf enmeshed in its world, he reveled in the sights, endangered species...
...cedar...
...It's full of the divine, but not the divine itself...
...The ty-foot boat several miles out from Pingok Is- seas were now running at six feet...
...Lopez continued up a logging road to a Strings of Christmas lights, plastic Santas, and illuminated high point above the valley...
...mean to lead a dignified and He understands profoundly with Christian virtues virtuous life...
...At five, after his parents divorced, Lopez turned to the Lopez became fascinated with Coyote, the trickster fignatural world for solace...
...They fell into the boat, exhausted from the effort...
...Like the others, Lopez was dressed in heavy on their work and ignored a storm moving in from the south- clothes and foul weather gear, but unbeknownst to him, he west...
...open water and pinning the craft on four sides...
...Lopez argues that the continent's most valuable re- sponsibilities of his stewardship...
...That's the point at which I made the decision that I wasn't going to go into a monastery," he said...
...In doing so, he ensured that mental...
...As outside the monastery...
...get free...
...Like most of his stories, it is discipline of the harsh environment...
...They were home free-or so they scientists were making bottom trawls in a twen- thought...
...Then he can enter into commu- morality, and spirituality in terms of the nonhuman world nion with it...
...But you expect sometime it will loosen into of perspectives from biology and anthropology to get clospieces to be examined...
...They recognized the divine in both...
...Cottonwood, moved inland from the coast, leaving a dusting alder, Douglas fir," he pronounced the names as if they were of snow on the foothills of the Cascade Moun- old friends...
...His themes are finally responsibility, community, grace, and love, and of these the greatest is love-as Saint Paul says...
...He was born in 1945 in tered the University of Oregon's graduate program in EngPort Chester, New York, but three years later his family lish, hoping to use it to jump-start his writing career...
...of The Promise of Nature (1993...
...Prayer is a way to formalize in a soon as I turn the key," he said sadly, "I've bought into this conventional sense with language the relationship between whole lifestyle...
...and surveyed the clearcut-scarred Cascade foothills...
...His first published book, brother Dennis to the Mojave Desert, the Santa Monica Desert Notes, shows the influence of these tales...
...when he feels uneasy, teaches him Barry is clearly a man of Catholic nature, says Doyle, "alto look for release ways trying to draw his fellow travelers and sufferers and when the way seems supplicants together in a community alert to its responsito narrow, and in the darkest hour bility to the least of God's creatures...
...He shivered and drifted in and out of consciousness, unLopez and the others had prepared for such an emer- aware of what was happening and why he was so cold...
...Catholic lands, the Sonoran Desert-but, important as the physical Conference...
...After some negotiation, he purchased by the natural world itself...
...A thirty-two-acre parcel of old-growth and partly scientific...
...Lopez got a solid grounding in the liberal arts, but enjoyed studying philosophy and theology most...
...shaking his head...
...I'd be hard- gested, and not simply project it onto something else...
...Questions of ecology and environment loom very large Lopez prefers to set his stories in remote, sometimes des- in Catholic theology today," says Walter E. Grazer, direcolate locales-the Arctic, the Antarctic, the Galapagos Is- tor of the Environmental Justice Program at the U.S...
...He does this in part by taking daily walks through tinent that began with Columbus and begin to appreciate the forest surrounding his house...
...Just as the Jewish people in the Hebrew well as 'What...
...They did not separate humanity and naotes, jackrabbits, and even rattlesnakes were not unusual...
...o Shells, feathers, cedar boughs, and rocks cover the dash- FEATURES OF THE FORUM board of his truck...
...He sat in a stupor and simply tried to brace himway of describing their present location, and, with the storm self against the boat...
...By foot and bike, he explored the ure of Native American stories...
...As Commonweal 12 March 24, 2000 one of the leading figures in a field including Annie Dillard, and turned onto Pond Road, a gravel track winding through Wendell Berry, Peter Matthiessen, and Terry Tempest old-growth forest...
...used to living and working outdoors, he felt embarrassed The part that affected me was the tradition of the Desert Faat being reduced to a dead weight, but the close call made thers, the Jesuits, and the monastic tradition-not the things him marvel at the early Arctic explorers who had endured one normally hears about Catholicism...
...He was not only a good student and a varsity soccer player, but also a devout young man who considered entering a monastery...
...in the monastic traditions your work is your prayer...
...that it becomes sufficient for Specific knowledge of a place you," said John F. Haught, a makes a crucial difference in our professor of theology at George- own lives, he argues, as well as town University and the author those of future generations...
...Wood smoke curled from the chimneys of houses...
...This is a common theme organized around a quest, with the central character jour- in Lopez's books, articles, and stories: Journeys into the neying into a desert to gain wisdom and learning from peo- wilderness provide us with a chance to return to an original, ple and animals native to it...
...The monastic life is very attractive to me, probably more as an abstraction than as a reality...
...he said of the practice...
...Species extinction...
...Gray clouds there," he pointed to the trees along the river...
...In a postmodern culture where the cause it's God's creation...
...The right side of his body was soaked...
...this small piece of North America, at least, would be preLopez's tendency to equate nature with the divine can be served not for its material values but for what it offered the seen as an overcompensation for what the writer perceives to spirit, a sense of belonging within the larger fabric of life...
...He likes to ask the question 'Why?' as communion with it...
...McKenzie River Valley where the ponderous, oracular voice...
...In addition to scientific equipment, they carried flares, tunately, the others recognized his predicament...
...Acid rain...
...Most na- liefs, and a story from the life of Saint Francis to examine ture writers address only ecological issues, but the attitude of humans toward nature...
...Then he reversed course and sped up the channel...
...He doesn't own a computer...
...It's about community...

Vol. 127 • March 2000 • No. 6


 
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Kanda Sofware
  Kanda Software, Inc.