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The Carry Home: Lessons From the American Wilderness

The Carry Home: Lessons From the American Wilderness

by Gary Ferguson


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The nature writing of Gary Ferguson arises out of intimate experience. He trekked 500 miles through Yellowstone to write Walking Down the Wild and spent a season in the field at a wilderness therapy program for Shouting at the Sky. He journeyed 250 miles on foot for Hawks Rest and followed through the seasons the first fourteen wolves released into Yellowstone National Park for The Yellowstone Wolves. But nothing could prepare him for the experience he details in his new book.

The Carry Home is both a moving celebration of the outdoor life shared between Ferguson and his wife Jane, who died tragically in a canoeing accident in northern Ontario in 2005, and a chronicle of the mending, uplifting power of nature. Confronting his unthinkable loss, Ferguson set out to fulfill Jane’s final wish: the scattering of her ashes in five remote, wild locations they loved and shared. The act of the carry home allows Ferguson the opportunity to ruminate on their life together as well as explore deeply the impactful presence of nature in all of our lives.

Theirs was a love borne of wild places, and The Carry Home offers a powerful glimpse into how the natural world can be a critical prompt for moving through cycles of immeasurable grief, how bereavement can turn to wonder, and how one man rediscovered himself in the process of saying goodbye.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619024489
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 11/11/2014
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Over the past twenty-five years Gary Ferguson has established himself as an expert chronicler of nature, having written for a wide variety of publications from Vanity Fair to The Los Angeles Times. He is the author of nineteen books on science and nature, including the award-winning Hawk’s Rest. He is also a highly regarded keynote speaker at conservation and outdoor education gatherings around the country and is currently on the faculty of the Rainier Writing Workshop Masters of Fine Arts program at Pacific Lutheran University.

Read an Excerpt

The end came for Jane, and so for us, at the edge of spring, when the leaves of the north country were washed in that impossible shade of lemonade green. A color she said always reminded her of a certain crayon in the old Crayola 64 boxes she had as a kid – one labeled simply “yellow green” - a clumsy name with no hint of the promise it held, which was like an early thought of summer, before summer gets quickened by the sun. I was struck by how easily, how routinely she made such connections, coupling little shards of nature she found as an adult, to some encounter when she was young. For her, then, wild country was a way in – a means of inciting the sweet startle of childhood.

Table of Contents

At First 1

Toward a Setting Sun 17

The Relics of Home 26

Water to Stone, One 40

Hunger Season 45

The First Goodbye 49

Water to Stone, Two 78

In the Sweet Middle of Nowhere 81

Water to Stone, Three 104

Flowers in the Dust 108

Thanksgiving 118

Water to Stone, Four 127

The Great Wide Open 131

Slickrock Wilderness 140

Water to Stone, Five 150

To the Land of Bear and Wolf 155

Water to Stone, Six 167

The Wild We've Forgotten 170

The Carry Home 174

Rescue 201

At Rest in Yellowstone 213

Epilogue 227

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