The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality

Paperback | March 15, 2007

byBelden C. Lane

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In the tradition of Kathleen Norris, Terry Tempest Williams, and Thomas Merton, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes explores the impulse that has drawn seekers into the wilderness for centuries and offers eloquent testimony to the healing power of mountain silence and desert indifference. Interweaving a memoir of his mother's long struggle with Alzheimer's and cancer, meditations on his own wilderness experience, and illuminating commentary on the Christian via negativa--a mystical tradition that seeks God in the silence beyond language--Lane rejects the easy affirmations ofpop spirituality for the harsher but more profound truths that wilderness can teach us. "There is an unaccountable solace that fierce landscapes offer to the soul. They heal, as well as mirror, the brokeness we find within." It is this apparent paradox that lies at the heart of this remarkablebook: that inhuman landscapes should be the source of spiritual comfort. Lane shows that the very indifference of the wilderness can release us from the demands of the endlessly anxious ego, teach us to ignore the inessential in our own lives, and enable us to transcend the "false self" that isever-obsessed with managing impressions. Drawing upon the wisdom of St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhardt, Simone Weil, Edward Abbey, and many other Christian and non-Christian writers, Lane also demonstrates how those of us cut off from the wilderness might "make some desert" in our lives. Written with vivid intelligence, narrative ease, and a gracefulness that is itself a comfort, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes gives us not only a description but a "performance" of an ancient and increasingly relevant spiritual tradition.

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In the tradition of Kathleen Norris, Terry Tempest Williams, and Thomas Merton, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes explores the impulse that has drawn seekers into the wilderness for centuries and offers eloquent testimony to the healing power of mountain silence and desert indifference. Interweaving a memoir of his mother's long str...

Belden C. Lane is Professor of Theological Studies and American Studies, St. Louis University and the author of Landscapes of the Sacred: Geography and Narrative in American Spirituality. He lives in St. Louis.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.79 inPublished:March 15, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195315855

ISBN - 13:9780195315851

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"Pushed by God, deserts, and death to the limits of human life, the spiritual seeker is relieved of worry over her own anxious ego--'the things that ignore us save us'--and the reader, in turn, comes away soothed by a fine illustration of the intimate connection there can be between abstractideas and the daunting realities of life. In the vast desert of pop spirituality, Lane's book is an oasis."--Kirkus Reviews