The Adventure of Home
The Adventure of Home is an unfolding story of coming to place. Told through a series of creative non-fiction essays, linked together with a propelling narrative thread, the collection rises from the pulses of the seasons to relay tales of connection, intimacy, knowledge and relationship to the land, community and self. Through my own experiences it explores the primordial pull of the wilderness, grasping at its teachings, undulating through such personal journeys as fear, joy, exposure and balance. It traverses into the culture of mountain people, revolving around their profound bonds to the land, facing their combined threat of extinction from skewed economics, over-development and the extractive industries.
Our modern-day sense of adventure is often told through stories of unparalleled feats and perilous knife-edged quests. Formerly as a full-time outdoor guide, educator and professional vagabond, I understand this. But once I made the choice to root down into one particular place, the texture of my adventure changed.
This adventure is more of a subtle slow-letting, exploring the physical and metaphorical characteristics of our seasons in the dramatic mountain landscape through the fall and spring equinoxes, and winter and summer solstices. The stories weave together elements of natural history, mythology, lore and ritual as a means of creating relationship with place. The external turning of nature is reflected in the internal journey of self-exploration and eventual knowing. It critiques modern society while delving into environmental philosophies from biophilia to deep ecology. It probes into how the wild shapes our personalities, encouraging the reader to reconnect to this fundamental source.
Mountain culture, like the land, is a predominant and palatable character throughout the book. Indeed, mountain culture boasts an intense coupling to the land. It is a culture less focused on monetary gain, material possessions and prestigious job titles, and more on life enriched with such vibrant experiences as roaming secret folds of peaks and washing down rivers during spring run-off. Mountain people tend to be a wild and wooly bunch, tenacious, fierce and hardy, boiling over with independence and radical self-expression. We live in tight communities with common goals, we take care of each other, depend on each other for emotional and often physical survival.
This book invites the reader to step out of the modern pace of life with all of its newer, bigger, shinier tendencies of more, more, more and focus on finding family in neighbors that extend even beyond the human and into the plants, animals, habitats and ecosystems that support our physical life and lifestyle. It is a place where those in other mountain cultures than my own in Southern Colorado will find a sense of tribe with commonality, resonance, comfort and encouragement.
Yet additionally, I believe mountain culture has something to share that is timely and valuable to our planet that reaches beyond the valleys and peaks of our homes. The environmental thread that drives much of the narrative is a call for all of us to pay more attention to our place, and become stewards of it. In a time, particularly in the United States, where nature is being threatened from every aspect, we must take action in each of our corners of the world to incite positive change towards a culture that is more respecting towards the land that sustains us.
It is my strong aspiration that this book serves as just such an inspiration.