Teewinot: Climbing and Contemplating the Teton Range (Anglais) Broché – 27 mars 2002
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Each chapter is an essay about climbing, wildlife, plants, environmental management or personality profiles related to events that happened during that month. The book begins in May because that's when spring begins to overtake winter, covers the intense summer climbing season, describes autumn wildlife viewing treks to remote corners of the park and tells about winter ski treks. The lifestyle and habits of climbing guides, rangers and other professional outdoors people are profiled throughout.
One of the best aspects of the book is that while it's written by a technical climbing guide and has interesting stories about both guided and highly challenging climbs, the book goes beyond that to reflect the author's wide-ranging, eclectic interest and knowledge about everything related to the Tetons.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in mountaineering, national parks, wildlife and the contemporary American West. There are 11 unexceptional color photographs, two maps with sufficient detail to follow the ground covered in the essays, and a six-page bibliography of reference sources for the Tetons and other topics covered, although many books cited are probably available only in large reference libraries.
Jack Turner is a mountaineering instructor and guide for Exum Mountain Guides, the oldest and most prestigious guide service in America. He has lived and climbed in the Tetons for over 40 years and so is uniquely qualified to write this book.
A philosophy professor by academic training, Turner has deeply contemplated the essential nature of the mountain landscapes of the Teton Range. Teewinot, named after the peak that looms above the Exum Guides' summer base and climbing school, is an ode to the mountains, streams, plants, animals and people that he loves. However, this book is far more than just an account of one of America's most beautiful mountain ranges or the remarkable climbers, rangers and biologists that know those mountain holds better than anyone ever will. It is also about achieving a tranquil and happy life by strengthening personal connections to the seasons, cycles and rhythms of the land.
Turner speaks of the "gifts of returning" - certain routines observed year after year, season after season, which in time have become personal and meaningful rituals that uplift and reconnect him to the landscape each time they occur: the first circumambulation of the Cathedral Group every Spring; the first snowfall in Lupine Meadows, snow that will not melt until the following summer; battening down the guides' hut for the winter off-season; and the final hike around Jenny Lake each year.
Turner reminds us that such simple gifts are available to anyone who attunes one's self to one's surroundings and the people and places one loves.
In its major themes and conclusions, Teewinot is in a class with Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' lovely book, Cross Creek. The latter book is a loving testimonial of the joy Rawlings experienced during her long residence in the land between Orange and Lochloosa Lakes in North Central Florida in the 1930's and 40's. Like Teewinot, Cross Creek teaches that meaningful connections with a place are hard-won after patience and persistence and determination.
I recommend Teewinot to anyone who loves and contemplates landscapes and their meaning in our lives, and who believes that developing a sense of place and exploring one's inner landscapes go hand-in-hand in one's attempt to live a deliberate, meaningful life.
I would love to meet Jack Turner and tell him how much his writing has enriched my life, but I'd probably be speechless, he's one of these rare people who knows who he is and where he belongs and leaves one wishing for the same, that they could fit in their own landscape so effortlessly and honestly. Highly recommend.
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