Crossing Open Ground

The author travels through the American Southwest and Alaska, discussing endangered wildlife and forgotten cultures.
Crossing Open Ground The author travels through the American Southwest and Alaska discussing endangered wildlife and forgotten cultures

  • Title: Crossing Open Ground
  • Author: Barry López
  • ISBN: 9780679721833
  • Page: 473
  • Format: Paperback
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    1 thought on “Crossing Open Ground”

    1. As an collection of journalistic pieces and essays, Crossing Open Ground is slightly less consistent in its overwhelming awe than Lopez' other works. His earlier, more explicitly journalistic pieces seem less impressive than the later works, which tend to be the ones that spend more time drawing connections and pondering. There are several of the latter kind of work in this collection, and they are all gems among the accumulated sediment of modern thinking about the human place in nature. Essays [...]

    2. the great barry lopez composes prose as rich and sustaining as the landscapes he so effortlessly considers. crossing open ground collects fourteen essays, written during the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s, that were printed previously in a wide array of publications including harper's, outside, wilderness, orion nature quarterly, and notre dame magazine. as one of our eminent nature writers, lopez travels throughout the west to explore the great abundance and diversity of some of our nation's [...]

    3. Outstanding set of 14 essays that help the reader experience special places and people in the Northwest, Arctic, and desert Southwest and the meaning of the individual's place in nature. Lopez renders a rich feast of first-person experience balanced with effective coverage of the historical and cultural context and enlightening reflections on the spiritual and ecological implications of his topics. This is achieved with a remarkable economy and precision in his prose. Of course I want more of ea [...]

    4. "One learns the landscape not by knowing the name or identity of everything in it, but by perceiving the relationships in it."Caribou crossing - Arctic National Wildlife RefugeI didn't really doubt it, but I was happy that Lopez's lyrical writing and mood continued into his essays, having only read his creative short fiction to date. There were many strong essays, but the one that stuck with me the most may have been "Landscape and Narrative", quoted here. Lopez shares stories from his travels a [...]

    5. Barry Lopez has a new fan here. Beautiful, thought-provoking nature writing. The essay about the beached whales in "A Presentation of Whales" brought me to tears. I particularly loved "Landscape and Narrative". There are so many excellent passages in this section, but here's just one:"This feeling, an inexplicable renewal of enthusiasm after storytelling, is familiar to many people. It does not seem to matter greatly what the subject is, as long as the context is intimate and the story is told f [...]

    6. So many quality, game-changing books missing from high school and collegiate literature courses. This is one of those books, and is really a collection of nonfiction essays written over a decade (late '70s to late '80s), still as relevant today, and especially with regard to today's political landscape (trying its best to eradicate our natural landscape), and the precarious state of our wild places. Rather than tell you how much I enjoyed this book, and how essential it (and books like it) could [...]

    7. Loooved it. My copy (from the library) has this hand-inscribed note written on the front cover, by who-knows-who: "Read this and you know ME! With love to Uncle James and Aunt Olive." At the end of reading this collection of nature essays, I felt like I knew myself better, and that guy who wrote the note, and everyone else who lives on this planet. Lopez is an amazing writer who really captures the expanse of the earth and what it means about who we are and what we can do.I am obsessed with the [...]

    8. Lopez has shown me an entire universe in a stone, a creation as large as the earth in a grain of sand. Some phenomena are too complex for me to understand through direct observation; but I can understand them through analogy. This is what Lopez has done for me in Crossing Open Ground. I met Lopez a few years ago, and in the process of our brief interaction, we both brought something of great worth to that place. We both walked away with a greater capacity to observe and understand.

    9. The first day I moved to San Francisco, I went to Ocean Beach for an afternoon walk on a bright and sunny day, and I fell in love immediately. I loved that the name of the beach was simply, Ocean Beach and I loved the waves and the colors and scents and sounds and how close I lived to the ocean (about 2 miles). I don’t remember how long I walked before I reached a crowd of people around a beached whale that had washed ashore and been stranded. I remember thinking, like Annie Dillard, “this i [...]

    10. I was on the bus and it occurred to me there was a passage about landscape, storytelling and lying that struck me and though I forget the exact quote and won't go back to find it, I am provoked to think about how it is so easy to trust nature and the landscape, that truth and language are not so much an issue or required; that there is no real question posed about being. We do not fear an unfaithfulness in nature's utterances. And further finding myself on the bus reading this, it occurred to me [...]

    11. Lopez finds strength with intertwining his short stories towards a central idea - humans can find beauty and solace in nature when they coincide with it, treating with respect and as an equal, if not greater than the self. However, when humans interfere with nature, treating it with disrespect, harming animals and the landscape for monetary gain, they cause a pain that echoes throughout all the earth, along with our own ancestry. In many cases, Lopez is consistently reminded just how small he is [...]

    12. "Barry Lopez, winner of the 1986 American Book Award for Arctic Dreams, weaves the same invigorating spell in Crossing Open Ground. Through his crystalline vision, Lopez urges us toward a new attitude, a re-enchantment with the world that is vital to our sense of place, our well-being our very survival."~~back coverA lovely set of essays, some lyrical and magical, others more practical and down to earth. But every one worth reading, especially Grown Men, and The Passing Wisdom of Birds, and The [...]

    13. Lopez is a fine writer with an astute eye and ear for the world around us-- and how we often both relate and fail to see it. "Landscape and Narrative," an often anthologized essay, stands out as a particularly insightful look into the story of landscape.

    14. No one writes with greater power to evoke a sense of place than Barry Lopez. Whether the place is a lean to on an international border or in your heart, he takes you there. Travel with him. These are sacred crossings.

    15. I came across praises of Barry Lopez's writing in one of the posts at Brain Pickings. I discovered that he's a good Nature writer so I decided to give one of his books a try. And I was not let down. Such a beautiful flow of writing, such beautiful description and rich praises of Nature. It was definitely a book worth reading and I'd love to read his other books as well.

    16. A most interesting book. Often fill with great insight. Three chapters stood out for me.One dealt with an event in the late 1970s when 41 sperm whale beached themselves in Oregon. While some thought is a biological disaster, the chapter really treats the incredible logistical and emotional disaster it became. A fascinating treatment of the angst of the scientific opportunity against the egos of the science community.A second dealt with three relatively simple men in terms of lifestyle, who had a [...]

    17. Barry Lopez speaks so powerfully for me because he is always entering unfamiliar ground. He looks and listens, and feels until he finds something helpful, some pattern or perspective that will illuminate an element of discord within himself or his culture. His essays are not arguments, they are invocations, an invitation of some place, or personality (whether human or non-human), to dispel a basic sense of displacement, to heal a place of pain. His subjects are ancient cultures, untrammeled land [...]

    18. You might also enjoy:✱ The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot✱ Dawn Light: Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day✱ For the Time Being✱ Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters✱ Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    19. After reading Arctic Dreams I wanted more of Barry, and I got it! Crossing Open Ground is a wonderful collection of essays that presents a real range of nonfiction writing going from more traditional long-form journalism, "A Presentation of Whales" and "A Reflection on White Geese," to a threaded collection of interviews, "The Bull Rider," to a more traditional essay, "The Passing Wisdom of Birds." Ultimately López maintains a consistent voice, one that is insightful, pensive, and deeply motiva [...]

    20. I've been looking for a book that describes the relationships people have with their landscapes. Each of these reflections does that with a unique tone, – some rather dry and scientific, others about his wry, land loving friends, and others purely about animals – but all invoke a sense of connectedness to the environment. I liked Arctic Dreams a little more because it allowed Lopez to more deeply explore his subject, but these stories easily stand by themselves. Reminiscent of Quammen, Gooda [...]

    21. This book is great for anyone who appreciates nature and the world that we live in. Barry Lopez is an excellent author with a strong passion for the beauty of the aspects of life, which is indicated by his clear, powerful prose. While reading about his different stories and experiences, I actually started to develop a stronger appreciation for all cultures and wonders of life on Earth. You don't have to be a "tree-hugger" to read this book either! It is just a fascinating piece of literature tha [...]

    22. This book is so good I don't know where to begin. The author has every trait you could want in someone writing about this field, he is an impressive human being, and time and again he voiced thoughts exactly as they've occurred to me over the years when thinking about all of the inhabitants of this planet, where we fit in the picture, and how we might improve upon our current ways of doing things. If you like nature writing I think you will be extremely happy that you found this new author, I am [...]

    23. This book brings the reader into a deeper though about the relationship of nature and humanity. I really enjoyed reading this book because i learned many different things from it. While reading this book, i was able to have clear and vivid imagery with his choice of vocab. Like for example, a river across whose undulating back we skip stones, or dig out a camas bulb, biting down into a taste so much wilder than last night's potatoes. This book was a story with many essays and ideas.

    24. This collection of earlier (1988 and earlier) short pieces by the writer and naturalist is, as always with Lopez, worthwhile for the sheer pleasure of his prose. And it is, also as always, profound in his project to reconnect people and places -- usually, but not always, meaning nature -- or simply to describe people who already have those place-based ties. Deeply concerned with the natural world, and at once deeply human.

    25. This is a collection of essays about exploring the West. It is beautifully written, but a bit condescending at times. It's a little ironic to write about places that are so beautiful that you want everyone to know about them, but you don't want anyone else to go. There is a sense throughout the book that he is "discovering" the west for the reader.

    26. Nature is constantly in your face in Montana. It does more than surround you, it's part of everything. Urban settings can't wipe out the westerness that is this part of the country. I can't help but think Lopez would write beautiful things about this place. This book is a great collection of essays by one of my favorite environment writers.

    27. I see why some people would enjoy this book as Lopez's tone is very inviting and makes it easier to read but in general this book wasn't one of my favorites. Mostly because he wrote about nature and our connection to it which didn't really appeal to me. I'm not saying this is a bad book, if you like books about nature and such I would recommend this book to you, but for me it was eh.

    28. Love this book.Happened to stumble across Barry Lopez while looking through my library for an audiobook to borrow one evening. As I am partial to books read by their author's, and essays about the outdoors, I gave it a try.Don't know how I had missed hearing about Barry Lopez or reading any of his work before, but his writing is outstanding.

    29. Pretty political but he has beautiful language and a real passion for the land and preservation. It's thought-provoking and emotion-stirring, and he's really a fantastic, straight-forward writer with plain, easy to access language. All very informative too, he really does his research which makes his essays very interesting.

    30. This author's writing puts you right into the scene he is describing. His words draw you into wherever he is at that very moment. I felt like I was right there next, knowing all the characters as he knew them. I enjoyed his understanding and thoughts of life in general. Excellent read.

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