Nature Books

Author Annie Dillard

Widely considered to be the modern-day Emerson or Thoreau, writer Annie Dillard typically offers meditations on transcendental themes that she found by venturing into nature and observing it with keen insight. Dillard sees a manifestation of a higher power in nature. She sees a world that offers the spiritual clarity that’s not found in our busy, urban world. We suggest her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek because we feel the same way about our experiences on the Ocoee River. These are the kind of experiences that you’ll never find in the city.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a Pulitzer-Prize winning 1974 nonfiction (that means true!) narrative.  It chronicles Dillard’s explorations around her home near Roanoke, Virginia. Separated into four sections that signify the four seasons, Dillard offers her insight on writing, solitude, and religion. She  also makings scientific observations about the flora and fauna she’s surrounded by.

Reading about nature engages us with nature and natural history in a way that’s deeper than just going for a walk in the park. Not reading about nature is like going rafting and never thinking about it again, never talking to anyone in the raft, never reliving it or even trying it again. Nature writing offers us the opportunity for reflection, guided thoughts, metaphors. It also gives us a glimpse into the mind of another — helping us see things through different eyes with a fresh perspective.

In Your Own Life

For Outland Expeditions, nature is our muse. Books like Dillard’s require us to linger a bit within our surroundings; they attune our senses and notice the unexpected. Some books cause us to reexamine our opinions and policies regarding nature. Thinking specifically of Rachel Carson’s revolutionary 1962 book, Silent Spring, as an example of authors with aimed intentions, Carson was pushing for the removal of DDT — and she succeeded.

Considering Dillard’s aims, we know for sure that she calls us to question the societal tradition of capitalism, consumerism, and industrialization. We have to think about why nature matters to us and why it should matter for someone else. Sometimes, we use nature just to understand our own existence.

We hope you give the book a chance! Please let us know of any nature writing that has touched your own life.

Happy Reading!

—Outland Expeditions, Inc.


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Photo courtesy of Outland Expeditions, Inc.