I’ve been working on a nonfiction project that is currently titled: Wilderness of Bones. This project comes out of work I’ve done on this blog since I started it in 2002. Some of you have been on this journey with me the entire time, for others, here’s the backstory.
In my late 30s I moved here to Livingston, a small town near Yellowstone National Park. Shortly after I arrived, my brother Patrick also moved here. We were both looking for a place we could call home, a real community, and somewhere safe after a fairly difficult shared childhood. I found an old house, built a garden, learned to can. Patrick made friends, found a girlfriend, learned to fly fish. We thought we’d found our place, but depression got it’s hooks into my brother. Late one night, he died in a single-car wreck. I spent years trying to parse his death, to understand whether or not it was intentional, and to figure out how to live without the one person who had always been at the other end of my hand. Every picture I have of the two of us, from earliest childhood to the end, one of us has an arm around the other.
Grief is both singular and universal. In the this new era that many are calling the anthropocene, we’re all sharing a time of planetary grief. The world is growing hotter, drier, and more perilous. Wilderness of Bonesexplores the threads between my personal grief and this global devastation. What does it mean to survive and thrive? Can craft practices like knitting, growing food, and foraging provide a gateway to a deeper engagement with the world? What can living with wolves, mountain lions, and bears on the edge of a wilderness teach us about being alive? Can engaging deeply with the natural world be an antidote to ghosts in our current world?