An account of one year in the Yaak Valley wilderness range, by the acclaimed naturalist and memoirist.
Beginning with his family settling in for the long northwestern Montana winter, and capturing all the subtle harbingers of change that mark each passing month—the initial cruel teasing of spring, the splendor and fecundity of summer, and the bittersweet memories evoked by fall—this is a beautiful evocation of the “fauna, flora and folks” in this rugged and spectacular landscape (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
It is full of rich observation about what it takes to live in the valley—toughness, improvisation and, of course, duct tape. The Wild Marsh is also poignant, especially as the author reflects on what it means for his young daughters to grow up surrounded by the strangeness and wonder of nature. He shares with them the Yaak’s little secrets—where the huckleberries are best in a dry year, where to find a grizzly’s claw marks in an old cedar—and discovers that passing on this intimate local knowledge, the knowledge of home, is a kind of rare and valuable love.
Bass emerges not just as a writer but as a father, a neighbor, and a gifted observer, uniquely able to bring us close to the drama and sanctity of small things, ensuring that though the wilderness is increasingly at risk, the voice of the wilderness will not disappear.
“A work of wonder, praise, and thanksgiving for all the marvels of nature, where every aspect is connected and every process has its place. Bass, grounding his book in science well, takes the facts and transforms them, as a musician transforms musical notes, into a work of great beauty. This walk through a year is a walk through the author’s soul, filled with passions, dreams, fears, and the exuberance of Walt Whitman.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Whether the topic is a forest fire in his front yard or the excitement of the first tiny cheerful glacier lilies in spring, Rick Bass is a stirring companion on the trail that leads west from the Walden Pond of Henry David Thoreau and the Sand County of Aldo Leopold.” —Ivan Doig, author of The Whistling Season