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Restoration of the soul - or why we need wilderness

Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout - Philip Connors

Philip Connors shares with us his eighth season as a fire lookout on top of a mountain in the Gila National Forrest. It takes a couple of miles hiking uphill from the nearest road to reach his summer workplace. He works ten days in a row and then has four days off to reconnect with civilization for supplies and mail or to take extended hikes into the land around his tower with his dog. Visitors are few and far between.

As he tells us about his time on top of his mountain, about the weather, the changing view, the critters that visit his meadow or he encounters on his hikes, he also tells us about the local history, the ecology of the place and how the USFS' stance on forest fires evolved over time, about the influential people that brought about the chance - and how the land changed with it. This seamless weave of his personal experience, the voice he give to other people who have spent time as fire lookouts and his contemplation of things and events that formed the land make for an impressive read.

It makes me long to spend a season like that.