November 28, 2019

I have a friend who likes birding. When he talks about birds he gets misty-eyed, and when he sees them in the wild he can’t help but say everything he knows about them. For a long time I considered this characteristic to be one of the few trials of spending time with my friend, and it was a trial easily dispensed with: I had only to keep him inside, watching movies or whatever it took to prevent him from seeing any birds. By s...

October 29, 2019

What if I told you that you can speak to animals? Even better, what if they can speak to you as well? You might think I’m talking about a fantasy where animals somehow adopt the ability to speak English. However, this is real. I promise.

Anyone who has learned or tried to learn another language knows that words rarely translate directly. Instead, words contain different associations, emotions, and cultural values, even if they’...

September 26, 2019

 “We seem to understand the value of oil, timber, minerals and housing, but not the value of unspoiled beauty, wildlife, solitude, and spiritual renewal.” – Calvin & Hobbs

How do you convince someone of the value of something they haven’t seen? How do you instill the value of something they’ve never experienced? How do you reach someone who shelters themselves from the unknown?

I’m trying to answer these questions. I know that I...

August 28, 2019

This has been a summer of contrasts. My early mornings are spent along the flooded riparian zone surrounding the middle Rio Grande surveying for two endangered bird species, and my afternoons within the dry desert town of Socorro. During the hours spent working along the river and its surrounding marshes, it’s hard for me to remember that I am in the desert. I find myself in the midst of tall cottonwoods and tangled coyote wil...

July 25, 2019

Solitude. Who gets to bask in its quiet, remote depths? Who feels safe, alone and secure, in the likely possibilities that you will make contact with another human?

I don’t.

One of my greatest wants in life is time with myself in a place where I can go at it alone. I crave embarking on a trailhead in the direction of a place which has been spared the physical constructs of modern “western” society.

But I’m female....

June 26, 2019

There’s nothing that my dad and I love more than hitting the road on a Friday afternoon and not showing our faces in town again until late Sunday night. More often than not, we don’t even have a destination in mind when we leave. Just a direction. South today. East last week. Should we go past Nephi or duck out Spanish Fork? We’ll decide on the way.

Our freedom in this regard is afforded by our mode of travel: we’re amateur ove...

May 23, 2019


 

Aware of my un-

balance, the

necessity of my toes,

I rock on the still Jetty’s basalt,

tilt on clumsy pockmarks

dimpled and raised in the sand,

precipitate words

because I’ve become

unacquainted with heavy air.

When he isn’t watching,

I take pictures of him. Face to sky,

pink clouds, the right angle.

Kneeling, salt catches

and holds light, grip broken

if the brine rises or when

gravity pulls into its own—

He says, “No camera could capture

th...

April 24, 2019

Jessie: Turn to 101.5, KTNN

[Navajo corn grinding song fades in]

Brett: The people in this area, this region, here you see all these canyons and mountains and things out here, this, this side of the Navajo Nation is filled with resistors.

Jessie: This is Black Mesa, a section of the Navajo reservation here in Arizona.

Brett Isaacs is part Hopi, part Navajo, and he is working to transition this nation to solar.

Brett: In Navajo when...

March 29, 2019

At the end of the day,

I unweave the tangles from my hair.

I rake through my brain’s grass with naked fingers in implicit, tender devotion.

My hair is of the lions'

of the grasses on the wind-blown prairie

of the twisting waves of the misunderstood ocean.

This chore is a meditation on my day— my personal de-wilding.

The small tangles endlessly re-wind in their faithful companionship.

I wish I had roots entwined with another.

These stra...

February 28, 2019

Inhale.

The prickly air fills my lungs with sunlight and a whisper of sweaty bodies before the wind quickly whisks it away. My eyes are tightly shut, making each step I take hesitant like a toddler’s first steps. Palms slick with sweat from the heat and anticipation, I allow my friend’s hand in my mine to guide me to promises of grandeur and the sublime. “There, you can open your eyes,” they said, bringing my lurching body to a...

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