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Leath Tonino

Leath Tonino is the author of the essay collections The Animal One Thousand Miles Long and The West Will Swallow You. He recently spent a month as an artist-in-residence in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park, hiking, writing, and rolling his sleeping bag out in an orchard each night.

— From January 2021
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Letter From A Cabin

On A Fifty-Mile-Long Dirt Road In Montana’s Centennial Valley, Written To My Sister In Vermont, August 2016, Never Sent

I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.

January 2021
The Sun Interview

Our Great Reckoning

Eileen Crist On The Consequences Of Human Plunder

In this current pandemic the fear and upheaval drove Americans to hoard toilet paper and guns and ammo. Try to imagine a food shortage instead of a scarcity of toilet paper.

December 2020
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Drinking With The Creek

What I do is sit with the creek. If it’s hot, perhaps I’ll sit in the creek. Two or three times, assisted by an inflatable pool toy, I have sat on the creek. But the preposition of choice remains with.

April 2020
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Ways To Take Your Coffee

With snow falling on blue spruce and a cardinal at the feeder and the fireplace’s crackly warmth easing into your bones and the final pages of a book about bears and the opening pages of a book about monks and no plans for the morning, the afternoon, the evening, tomorrow, next week, the rest of your life.

March 2019
The Sun Interview

We Only Protect What We Love

Michael Soule On The Vanishing Wilderness

The reason we act when something threatens our family or our neighborhood is because we love these people and places. Maybe it takes a tangible threat to our home environment to make us realize that we really do love the earth.

April 2018
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Write-Ins For President

I elect a climb of Precarious Peak that made me, and will forever keep me, humble as a pebble.

February 2017
The Sun Interview

The Skeleton Gets Up And Walks

Craig Childs On How The World Is Always Ending

We think of apocalypse as a moment — a flash of light, then you’re gone — but if we study the earth’s history, we find that it’s not one moment. It’s actually a long process. In fact, it’s hard to see where it begins or ends. Like right now: evidence indicates that we’re experiencing the planet’s sixth mass extinction — a period when the rate of extinction spikes and the diversity and abundance of life decrease. Each such extinction event takes hundreds of thousands of years to play out, and it’s generally 5 to 8 million years before the previous levels of biodiversity return. So are we at the end or the beginning of a cycle? This could just be a temporary spike. The pattern could swerve in a different direction.

June 2016
The Sun Interview

Two Ways Of Knowing

Robin Wall Kimmerer On Scientific And Native American Views Of The Natural World

I prefer to ask what gifts the land offers. Gifts require a giver, a being with agency. Gifts invite reciprocity. Gifts help form relationships. Scientists aren’t comfortable with the word gifts, so we get ecosystem services instead. These terms arise from different worldviews, but both recognize the way the land sustains life.

April 2016
The Sun Interview

The Molotov Cocktail Of The Imagination

David Mason On The Power Of Poetry

But getting back to your question about poetry and prose: Poetry, by moving from line to line, can create shades of meaning that prose can’t. So, whatever else it’s worth, poetry is valuable because it gives us a different experience of language. It gives us an experience that we cannot have by other means. And without that, we live a more impoverished life. I’ve been as moved by novels as I have been by poems, but I’ve been moved by poems in a different way. I’ve been brought to laughter and tears by a different route.

April 2015
The Sun Interview

The Egret Lifting From The River

David Hinton On The Wisdom Of Ancient Chinese Poets

There’s a Wang Wei poem in which an egret standing at the edge of a stream flutters up and then settles back down. That’s it. In the West we think there’s something missing, that there should be more to the poem. But if you remember that heart and mind are the same, then you realize that this perception, this experience of empty mind perceiving with mirror-like clarity, is also an emotional experience. It’s both the observation of the scene and the feeling evoked by the scene at the same time, the two together filling us completely.

January 2015
The Sun Interview

Call Of The Wild

Bernie Krause On The Disappearing Music Of The Natural World

Nearly 50 percent of the habitats where I’ve made recordings over the past forty-plus years have been so severely damaged that they’re now either biophonically silent or altered to the point of being unrecognizable.

September 2014
The Sun Interview

Not On Any Map

Jack Turner On Our Lost Intimacy With The Natural World

One of my essays starts: “My cabin is located next to a stream that runs through a meadow, but it is not on any map.” It’s not on a map because the places I’ve lived and loved are labeled with my own names: Where Rio chases her stick. Rio’s favorite pool. Where Rio ran into the bear. It’s a private mapping, a personal geography projected onto the land. It requires a long time living in one place and studying its plants and animals. If you follow them and their lives, you gain a deeper sense of home.

August 2014
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