Jamie's Reviews > Winter: Notes from Montana

Winter by Rick Bass
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Mar 12, 12

bookshelves: favorites, the-wild-west, nature-walk, non-fiction
Read from February 27 to March 11, 2012 — I own a copy

In praise of, as Bass puts it, the lower, slower state: “where you’re sure to live twice as long, and see twice as many things, and be two times as happy at the end.” Where snow is more wonderful than rain, than anything.

God, I loved this book. I love anything Bass writes but here you can see the line between his fiction and not-fiction is so slim and pliable it’s sometimes barely there at all. Even Kirby and Tricia of the short stories make their real-life appearance. But really, the reason for that pliable line is that each of his stories is in its way a love story and all of Bass’s love is in that wild Yaak valley.

“I used to think it was bad, a failing, that I had to be in the wilderness to be happy— away from most things. Now I’m starting to discover that’s irrelevant— whether it’s good or bad, a failing or a strength: totally irrelevant. It’s just the way I am.”

If there’s a feeling I know, it’s that. Not the craving for wilderness and solitude, but the absolute requirement of it, the non-negotiable choices you make in order to draw all your breaths in that place. When I finished the book yesterday, I had hiked out to a favorite spot, was lying on my back by a creek deep in the woods. Pure solitude, pure treasure, and I’m not a spiritual person but that’s the vocabulary I’d use to describe it. Unless, maybe, that’s all ‘spiritual’ really means: when things are like some kind of prayer, a kind of salvation, the invitation to sit and sift and contemplate, and relish, being rich.
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Reading Progress

03/04/2012 page 69
39.0% "“[In the way] they crave money, possessions, and security, I crave wilderness.”"

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message 1: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Villines This is why we read books. Without books, we could never know who we are; who we are to become; we could never know that it’s ok to be human. Without books, all we have are a few, too few in fact, individuals to tell us what is right and want is wrong. With books the universe is there for our exploration, and our path is ours to choose.


Jamie Beautifully said, Daniel. And so true.


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