On the Hammock, Reading About Wilderness Wanderings
Books & Culture, March/April 2016, p. 9
3 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 4, 2016
Belden Lane’s book “Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as a Spiritual Practice,” combines a passion for wilderness with a passion for spiritual writings. In each chapter, Lane travels to a wild place and introduces us to a saint. Those saints include, by Lane’s counting, “an early Celtic saint, five Catholics, four Protestants, a Buddhist, a Hindu, and a Sufi Muslim,” along with a sprinkling of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. Lane organizes his experiences around the four legs of a wilderness journey: departure, discipline, descent, and delight. Those legs are further divided into chapters on such topics as disillusionment, desire, mindfulness, failure, and community. Along the way, Lane offers an opportunity to reflect on how laws as diverse as the Wilderness Act, the Organic Act governing national parks, and CERCLA influence our relationship to both ordinary and special places.
Keywords: wilderness, saints, belden lane, wilderness act
JEL Classification: K10, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation