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In this collection of 15 exquisite essays, a native Washingtonian steps forward to remind us. A ...
In this collection of 15 exquisite essays, a native Washingtonian steps forward to remind us. A lifelong resident of Castle Rock, LeMonds left only once to attend college in the late '60s at Western Washington University.
Currently an English teacher at R. A. Long High School in Longview, LeMonds was frank with himself about the prospects of returning to a backwater town of rural sentiments: "I was worldly-wise, and there was no way I was going back to a place without a bookstore, where the highlight of a Friday evening was a burger at the C & L." But just as Thoreau learned from his observations at Walden Pond, one does not have to go far to see the world. To anyone so inclined, microcosms can offer an unparalleled view into the ecosystems of regions, countries, and even the world. From the microcosm of his small hometown, LeMonds has managed to examine virtually all of the larger issues facing the Pacific Northwest.
He speaks with quiet authority on everything from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to smelt runs on the Cowlitz River. He walks us through the Castle Rock cemetery where his hard-working ancestors are buried, tells the tale of his grandfather's migration here from the frozen farmland of Depression Iowa. He describes the Washington of a half century ago, when logging trucks still came out of theforest land with trees the girth of a Pontiac, when deer and elk and coyote routinely roamed through backyards and pristine valleys, when "wise use" of natural resources was not even a concept yet.
A fine writer and responsible observer, LeMonds has given us a rich cultural harvest in this collection of essays, many of which appeared first in other venues, most notably The Oregonian and Seattle Weekly. Intelligent yet never glib, he offers a viewpoint that is astute, unsentimental, and ultimately altruistic. Though he expresses his concern for the "ability of my generation to create a mythology that our grandchildren can store and wonder at," in these expressive essays he as gone a long way toward preserving it.