Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout

Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness LookoutDan Cryer of Newsday has written a review of “Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout“, a book written by Philip Connors who left his job as an editor at the Wall Street Journal to work as a lookout in a fire tower in New Mexico. Here is an excerpt from Cryer’s review:

…Whether writing of lightning strikes that shake his aerie, the courage of firejumpers who throw themselves out of helicopters into harm’s way, the Apaches’ last stand in the Gila in 1880, Jack Kerouac’s lookout days of 1956, engraver beetles’ attack on white fir trees, the reintroduction of wolves into the national forest or the paradox of “managed wilderness,” Connors proves a genial, modest, thoughtful companion.

The bane of nature writing is prose tongue-tied with “poetry.” Connors can write beautifully, sure enough. But he doesn’t let beauty get in the way of clarity and power. Just look at his verbs. In a single paragraph, we read “hotfoots,” “swiveling,” “zapped,” “blew,” “knocked.”

This is prose that takes you by the collar and makes you perceive the world anew. Seeing like this happens only when and where, as Connors writes, you’re unplugged, not part of a demographic, not “tracked, aggregated, and commodified.” My hat’s off to Philip Connors for showing the way.

“Fire Season: Field Notes form a Wilderness Lookout” is available at the Today book store.


Thanks Dick

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.