The author of Alder Music, Gary Saunders returns with an evocative, lyrical, and immersive collection of personal essays on our relationship with nature and with each other.
In nine sections, Earthkeeping ruminates on the necessity of love and earthkeeping, on forage fish and robinsongs, and on the stewardship of our ecological landscape. Offering an antidote to the world’s anxiety about climate change, plastic pollution, and biodiversity loss, Saunders writes with a deep connection to the natural world and his signature humane zest for life. Lovingly illustrated with Saunders’s own drawings, the result is a joyful, personal, and deeply attentive stroll through an enchanted land of blue and green.
About the author
Originally trained as a forester, Gary L. Saunders went on to study fine arts at Mount Allison University and the Ontario College of Art before taking a position with the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests extension program. Here, he honed his skills as an editor and writer. Saunders has been a frequent contributor to periodicals such as Atlantic Advocate, Rural Delivery, Atlantic Forestry Review and Saltscapes and is the author of numerous books, ranging from guidebooks (Trees of Nova Scotia and At a Glance: A Guide to Identifying and Managing Nova Scotia Hardwoods) to essays (Alder Music and September Christmas) to illustrated children’s books (The Brook and the Woodcutter). He lives in Clifton, Nova Scotia.
“As a whole, they exemplify a kind of natural storytelling whose absorbing asides and immersive detail never belie its core and often urgent message: we are all part of this brilliant, intricate, fragile, manifold system/experience.”
“The essays in Earthkeeping by naturalist-painter-writer Gary Saunders sum up his rich life in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia from the days of poverty-tinged fly-tying to the cod moratorium, as well as the seal glut, bumblebees and hornets, rural houses and characters, and the unparalleled close-up observation of a dragonfly eating a moosefly. The depth and cumulative value of these essays lies in Saunders’s habit of skilled and repetitive observation. A prophetic afterword echoes his hope for earth’s continuance as a sanctuary for life. This is a book for all of us, how we have lived and where we are going.”
Annie Proulx, author of <i>Barskins</i>
“Warm, wise, and funny. Like stones plucked from a pebble beach, each essay is polished by a lifetime of country living. I eked them out with my morning coffee, one by delightful one, not wanting them to end.”
Beth Powning, author of <i>The Sister’s Tale</i> and <i>Home</i>
“Secretly we cherish “a moment when Nature’s beauty first smote us.” Gary Saunders reflects upon and investigates his relationship with the natural world, guiding himself to preserve his spiritual and conscious relationship with the world around him while still articulating his own irresponsibilities. Not without warnings, Earthkeeping reveals a kind wisdom and poet’s eye that I revelled in.”
Boyd Chubbs, author of <i>The Electric City</i>
“In Earthkeeping: Love Notes for Tough Times, writer Gary Saunders offers up a series of essays designed as a balm for the general ecological anxiety that is building in most of us, in step with the climate crisis. Saunders’ voice is wary but not panicked. With curiosity, care and humour he tackles the small stories — of roadside flowers, attempted turtle rescues and the merits (or lack thereof) of growing cattle corn — and although the collection creates an ethos for a way of thinking and feeling about the larger world.”
<i>Atlantic Books Today</i>