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A Reflection on "First & Wildest" One Year Later

by Leeanna T. Torres

Take a look at my book, one year later, dozens of dog-eared pages folded over on both ends, and a creased spine opened wide; it curves easy like a canyon while pages turn. Inside the book, among chapters and words, are highlights and notes, circled sentences, penciled-in exclamation points beside sections I just knew I needed to remember, return to. Such is a writer’s well-loved book. Underlined words, asterisks, and arrows.

One year later, this book remains one I return to again and again. A book now among my favorites, not only because of the diverse stories and views its writers reveal, but also because of the writers themselves, some of them I’ve come to know over the past year.

“First & Wildest” published in early 2022, gave voice to the Gila Wilderness through the writings of twenty-seven different writers and perspectives. As humans, we are so often connected to place through experience and story, both of which this book offers.