Peter Matthiessen and the ends of the Earth

Earlier I linked to the International Crane Foundation’s praise of Peter Matthiessen – their longtime friend and colleague – and the story of how he came to write “The Birds of Heaven.” Now I’ve found Steve Lysaker at “Outward Hounds,” who has written this excellent meditation about Matthiessen’s “deep affection for and awe of nature and it’s wild inhabitants.” I hope you don’t miss this short, admiring introduction to the man and his works.

Outward Hounds

On a hike in Colorado’s Arapaho National Forest, we encountered this tree, which made me think of the bodhi tree. In The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen describes a Buddhist temple “that stands beside an ancient pipal, descended from that bodhi tree, or ‘Enlightenment Tree.’” Matthiessen himself provided substantial enlightenment through his writing. On a hike in Colorado’s Arapaho National Forest, we encountered this tree, which made me think of the bodhi tree. In The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen describes a Buddhist temple “that stands beside an ancient pipal, descended from that bodhi tree, or ‘Enlightenment Tree.’” Matthiessen himself provided substantial enlightenment through his writing.

When Peter Matthiessen died earlier this month, we lost not only a great writer but one of our most eloquent and passionate advocates for the natural world.

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