Crossing open ground

by Barry Holstun Lopez

Paperback, 1989




New York : Vintage Books, 1989.


Once again, the author uses his strong observations of nature to reflect on the links human beings have to the land. In traveling through the American Southwest and Alaska, Lopez finds new, once hidden, meanings in natural phenomenon - flocks of geese and Arctic fox tracks - and remnants of lost human cultures. The land and humans, he concludes, share a strong spiritual bond that echoes and impacts the universe's great rhyme of life. Elegantly told against a haunting and beautiful melodic backdrop, Crossing Open Ground propels us into a new posture - indeed a whole new relationship - with the world around us.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Very mixed bag of essays. Some were ivory-tower-on-dope pretentious, some were honest and fresh (I liked the one where he interviewed rodeo cowboys). Some folks would no doubt love it. I kinda skipped a couple when I felt like it was bogging down.
LibraryThing member ElOsoBlanco
There's such a diverse amount of content, and I dig that! While some chapters were a little dry, others really made me think. Lopez writes beautifully throughout, and I enjoyed my time with this book.
LibraryThing member co_coyote
The finest book of essays and beautiful writing I have ever read. Lopez is a master of evoking a sense of geography and place. These essays about the Arctic are best read after a hot shower and working all day on the ice in minus 20 degree weather. I had the privilege of seeing some of the things he writes about, but I felt as if I had known them already, just from the writing.… (more)
LibraryThing member bas615
A fun and accessible book of essays that are enlightening and thought-provoking. I have been stuck in a city for too long and this book brought me back home to the open spaces I have been longing for. Lopez's writing is poetic and informative. His exploration of the marshlands that have been so diminished is tragic and moving. He touches on so much here and each part is done in a tasteful and subtle way. There is perhaps a lack of cohesion between these essays but every part is individually worthwhile. The natural world needs more spokesmen (and women) like Barry Lopez.… (more)
LibraryThing member LovingLit
Barry Lopez is a nature writer, who writes passionately and beautifully about the world around him. This is a collection of his essays written between 1978 and 1986, and one which I devoured, reading til well past my bedtime.

It makes for lovely reading. This was a book that I carried around the house with me on the off chance I could grab a second here or there to read it. The man's gift for words is obvious, and his passion and advocacy for wildlife and wild environs is admirable. He makes a great philosophical case for preserving tracts of wild space for their sakes alone, and that it is only once they are lost that we as humans will feel what their loss really means.… (more)
LibraryThing member m.belljackson
Because Barry Lopez is a good and evocative writer, I keep waiting for a book without animal cruelty.

This time he was the self appointed killer of seals, pretending that he just doesn't enjoy killing animals.
This time for "science," not for the ever numbing joy of hunting.

He never explains this allegedly primal urge to stalk and murder and the hideousness of an animal dying in a trap.

Well, it always gives him something exciting to write about, like the totally hopeless whale story.

THE STONE HORSE begs for the aerial map...a splendid tale.

GEESE needs the original photographs...opening our eyes to a new world.

The book reads like an unconnected novel, keeping readers alert for the next adventure,
which many of us which included ENLIGHTENMENT about the horrors of trapping, if not of hunting
… (more)
LibraryThing member b.masonjudy
After reading Arctic Dreams I wanted more of Barry, and I got it! Crossing Open Ground is a wonderful collection of essays that presents a real range of nonfiction writing going from more traditional long-form journalism, "A Presentation of Whales" and "A Reflection on White Geese," to a threaded collection of interviews, "The Bull Rider," to a more traditional essay, "The Passing Wisdom of Birds." Ultimately L√≥pez maintains a consistent voice, one that is insightful, pensive, and deeply motivated by justice. While any collection can be a bit uneven there are some real gems in here for anyone interested in reading about our relationship to landscape, place, and that relationship within the context of narrative.… (more)



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