by Peter Anderson
In these contemplative essays written for seekers and adventurers, Peter Anderson explores the scripture of place, the topography of memory, and the landscape of the imagination.
Praise for First Church of the Higher Elevations:
This reissue of Anderson’s thematically connected essays (originally published in 2007) offers a spiritually penetrating look at the mountains of the American West. Exterior wildness has an interior correlate, he writes, and both spaces promote an exploration “that nudges us toward wholeness.” His essays join a body of literature (by such writers as Annie Dillard and Terry Tempest Williams) that studies the relationship between spirit and the outdoors. Anderson has a keen eye for informed detail about the flora and fauna of mountain terrain, but most of the book’s appeal lies in his descriptions of relationships with people in his life: his wife, their child, and a larger-than-life second cousin, a gun-toting, whiskey-drinking old Jesuit priest. One strong essay (“Into the Big Empty”) describes a solo retreat, but he’s no Thoreau, alone in nature. A short foreword by Quaker author Paul Lacey elegantly connects the book to a larger spiritual literary tradition. While readers impatient with mystic meandering ought to look elsewhere, those who love nature, especially above the treeline, will be fed by this contemplative book. – Publishers Weekly
“This is a book about the Great Mystery. It will fill you with wonder and awe…”
– Art Goodtimes—poet, Telluride Watch columnist
“As it was for John Muir, the world is, for Peter, sacramental.”
– David Romtvedt—Wyoming Poet Laureate
“His journeys reveal the grace…in those luminous high places.”
– Susan Tweit—author, naturalist
“This book reminds readers of the innate connection we have with high places. A fine companion for a hike through wild country.”
– Margaret Pettis—poet, editor The Lynx
About the author:
Peter Anderson won the Academy of American Poets Award while earning an M.A. in American Studies at the University of Wyoming. He also earned an MDiv at Earlham School of Religion, a Quaker seminary, where he subsequently taught writing for several years. Peter teaches in the English department at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado and lives with his family on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Range in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
Tags: camping, Colorado, contemplation, contemplative life, hiking, mountains, nature writing, Quakers, spirituality, Utah