First published nearly a decade ago, The Pine Island Paradox (Milkweed Editions, 2004) remains a timeless read. Author and speaker Kathleen Dean Moore takes her readers along on her personal journey in and with nature on Pine Island, in the Alaskan wilderness. And while camping with her family on the island, Moore makes some vital connections with the place and life there.
Moore’s approach toward living in nature borders on the ecological and the philosophical – a state of finely tuned consciousness that diffuses the boundaries between one’s “self” and nature. To Moore, the “harmony of the whole” is of prime importance, and that shows in her camping experience on Pine Island where she finds a reciprocal relationship between people and their places: people and the world are co-creators of the future. (126)
The imagery in this book will literally possesses any reader who has experienced the purity of wilderness, but will also likely engage the attention of those who stay tethered to modern urban settings and have at least some vicarious experience of unadulterated nature. The sounds, colors, and feel of being out in the open enrich one’s reading experience on Moore’s pages – a journal wherein lost connections are discovered.
The Pine Island Paradox has deep ethical implications. Nowhere preachy, Moore’s work calls for “ecological ethics of care”; it is more a call for retrieving our lost relationship with our true nature, the one we have reduced to our ever-rising consumerism. These chapters work against the divide-and-rule view that has sucked our society in over the decades; it is a call for a unite-and-thrive way of thinking and living.
Moore’s book raises a number of important questions for thought. The one that stayed with this writer long after the book was closed is: If the world was created by the separation of one thing from another, the seas from the dry land, the birds of the air from the fish of the sea, will it end with a gradual coming together? (224)