Examines the yearning for nature that most of us experience, indistinguishable from the loss of a 'sense of belonging' characteristic of the constructed world. The first response is to seek wildness in virgin nature; but Mitchell shows why this is not the best answer, and that instead we should learn, especially in solitude, to see wildness in our familar and near surroundings, such as gardens.
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John Hanson Mitchell is the author of five books based on a single square mile known as Scratch Flat, as well as two travel books and the biography of the early African American landscape photographer Robert A. Gilbert. A winner of the John Burroughs Award for his nature essays, Mitchell was founder and editor of Sanctuary magazine, published by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. In 2000 he won the New England Book Award in nonfiction for his Scratch Flat series. He lives in Littleton, Massachusetts, the location of Scratch Flat.