CORVALLIS, Ore. - In an effort to make sense of the deaths in quick succession of several friends, Oregon essayist Kathleen Dean Moore turned to the comfort of nature. The result can be found in her new book, "Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature."

Moore, a philosophy professor at Oregon State University and director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word, made a series of excursions into ancient forests, wild rivers, remote deserts and windswept islands to learn what these wild places could teach her about grief and gladness.

The new book is a record of her experience - a collection of carefully observed accounts of her life, including tracking otters on the beach, cooking breakfast in the desert, canoeing in a snow squall and wading among migrating salmon in the dark. But it also, she says, is a meditation on the healing power of nature.

"I want this to be a book that helps people," Moore said.  "I want it to call readers back to their sources of comfort -- music in water or warmth in stone."

Acclaimed American poet Jane Hirshfield said of "Wild Comfort": "This book, filled with knowledge of the natural and human worlds, is a superb naturalist's handbook. In its grounded wisdoms, humility, curiosity, and in the kaleidoscope beauty of its descriptions, 'Wild Comfort' reminds how to see, how to sing; how to welcome, with equal gravity and grace, whatever asks entrance into our lives. It is destined to become a classic."

A Corvallis book release party will be held on Wednesday, March 10, beginning at 7 p.m. in the OSU Memorial Union Journey Room. Moore will read from Wild Comfort and sign books.

Other book events scheduled for "Wild Comfort" include:

  • Thursday, March 11, 7:30 p.m.: Powell's Books, 3723 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland.
  • Friday, March 26, 7 p.m.: Bloomsbury Books, 290 E. Main St., Ashland
  • Friday, April 2, 7 p.m.: Village Books, 1200 11th St., Bellingham, Wash.
  • Saturday, April 10, 2 p.m.: Tattered Cover, 1628 16th St., Denver, Colo.
  • Friday, May 7, 6:30 p.m.: Paulina Springs Books, 252 W. Hood Ave., Sisters.

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Kathleen Dean Moore, 541-737-5652