"Salvation would come, I would learn, by a wearing away of the body, by a grinding of bones into slickrock until they mingled with sand and the howling dead. It would be how I found my way back to myself- to something more basic, more original, than all that has been prescribed to me."
"Lake Powell is paradise manipulated- the desert made palatable for the masses."
"I am my father’s daughter. In time, I will see how those who reach out to make contact with my vague form are left wanting."
"And so I finally see: To truly inhabit a place is to learn to dwell with the differences that threaten to divide it. Otherwise, one beckons monotony."
Book: Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land
Author: Amy Irvine
Published: North Point Press (2008)
My Review: I often wonder if I exist in the wrong earth suit. I cherish my solitude to such an extent that I question whether I shouldn’t have come into this world as a jungle cat, an arctic bear, or an old oak tree. Don’t get me wrong— I love my small chosen community of family and friends and wouldn’t want to escape them— but something about vast, open land calls to my soul in ways that I can’t explain. Nature is the company that my heart truly craves and yet I find myself bound within cities too close; within relationships and responsibilities to people I don’t fundamentally connect with. It deeply saddens me that our world no longer values Nature; that we have so utterly abandoned and discarded the wisdom and truth that comes from being one with Mother Earth. We’ve so distanced ourselves from the cycle of life that we no longer live with purpose, direction, or passion- we’ve evolved into mindless consumers that will, in the end, consume ourselves with violent abandon.
More than any other memoir, Amy Irvine’s tale of escape resonates with the very core of my being. The fact that Irvine has lived her life in Utah only makes this tale more relevant and alive— I easily recognize the names of the landmarks she speaks of and the red and purple hues of Redrock Country are vivid and real in my mind. She speaks of solitude in ways that any natural recluse can identify with and shares with her readers her battles with the demons that inherently lurk in the minds of the solitary.
Seamlessly woven into the story of her life, Irvine retells the stories of ancient peoples who first inhabited these beautiful spaces we now call home; and she describes the many social transitions that have led us to where we are now. And, as if that weren’t enough brilliance for one small book, Irvine effortlessly describes the impact of religion- Mormonism, in particular- on the way we view our relationship to the Earth, and to Utah.
Magnificent and inspiring. Stop by Ken Sanders in Salt Lake City for a signed copy!