Finding a Clear Path intertwines literature, agriculture, and ecology as author Jim Minick takes the reader on many journeys, allowing you to float on a pond, fly with a titmouse, gather ginseng, and grow the lowly potato. The reader visits monarch butterflies and morel mushrooms, encountering beavers, black snakes, and bloodroot along the way. Using his background as a blueberry farmer, gardener and naturalist, Minick explores the Appalachian region and also introduces information that can be appreciated from a scientific point of view, explaining, for example, the ears of an owl, or the problems with the typical Christmas tree. Reading this collection of essays invites you to search for ways to better understand and appreciate this marvelous world, opening paths for journeys of your own.
http://www.nhbs.com/product/94424"In Finding a Clear Path, Jim Minick maps the trails, real and metaphorical, that twine through the ancient Appalachian hills and through the hearts of those who love them, gracefully uniting the land, the wildlife, and its people."
– Scott Weidensaul, author Mountains of the Heart
"In Finding a Clear Path, Jim Minick walks woods, gardens, and fields with a poet's eye; his seeing is sharp, his knowledge deep, his sentences tough and lean. And he is as practical as a farmer's almanac, too, offering not only observations and reflections, but advice on country matters of all kinds. Minick knows that on this lovely, flawed planet of ours, much is well."
– Richard Hague, author of Ripenings and Milltown Natural
"Jim Minick is blessed with brevity. Each of his one to three page essays meditates on one small thing, yet manages to enhance our understanding of the whole wide world. Readers be warned: seeing the macrocosm in a microcosm is a dangerous subversion of the normal egocentric human perspective, and may cause changes in attitude."
– Chris Bolgiano, author The Appalachian Forest and Living in the Appalachian Forest
" [...] Finding a Clear Path is a beautifully wrought example of nature writing and environmental advocacy at its most appealing."
– John C. Inscoe, Journal of Appalachian Studies
Finding a Clear Path
Walking in the World of Language
Naming it All
Naming What You Love
The River of Spring
Small, Bright Glows of Spring
Springs, Strong and Sweet
The Return of the Beaver
Birding by Car
Monarchs: Flying Poetry
Counting Birds at Christmas
Homes for the Holidays
Have Fungi, But Ne Careful
The Bridge of Antlers
A "Woods Garden" Full of Cohosh
Wineberries—Wild, Red Jewels
In Praise of Pawpaws
Food Security, or Do You Know Where That Egg Came From?
Grow a Patch of Your Own
Some Kind of Habit
How to Get the Good Bugs In
Summertime, Winter Work
Beans, Bovines, and Beetles
Health, Hunger, and Hunting
Footprints, or We All Have Big Feet
For the Love of Chicken
The Holy, Lowly Spud
Cussed Yellow Jackets
We Create the World We Eat: The Benefits of Organic Food
Not Ready for Roundup's Results
The Trouble With "Waste"
Working Among Trees
Sunlight on Willow
Hitting the Mark
Praise for One Tough Tree
The Slow Work of Healing
Green Lumber, Green Profits: Sustainable Forestry in Appalachia
A Rision Tide Floats All Logs
A Different Fire: The Southern Pine Beetle
Eastern Hemlocks Fade from our Forests
Beyond Bare-Ground: Organic Christmas Trees in the South
Bowls for Christmas
Following Myself Home
Following Myself Home
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Jim Minick lives, writes and farms in southwest Virginia, while also teaching writing and literature at Radford University. His poems and essays have appeared in many books and periodicals including Orion, Shenandoah, YES!, Natural Home, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage, and Wind. Since 1996, Minick has written a regular column for The Roanoke Times New River Current as well as other articles that have appeared in major newspapers throughout the south.