Description

Fire is a fearsome constant in the America West. As the author David J. Strohmaier notes, “Whether we have tended a campfire along Oregon’s Deschutes River in March, engaged the advancing front of a Great Basin wildfire in the torrid heat of August, or watched fire settle into the subdued, smoldering leaf piles of October, all of our lives, to one degree or another, are bracketed by fire.” In The Seasons of Fire, Strohmaier effectively blends nature writing, personal essay, and philosophical analysis as he deliberately crosses disciplinary boundaries. He discusses the “moral” dimensions of fire—not only whether fires are good, bad, or indifferent phenomena, but also how fire, more generally understood, shapes meaning for human life. The consequences of discussing the moral side of fire speak directly to the contours of the human soul, and to our sense of our place on the land. Strohmaier, a long-term firefighter himself, includes accurate and sometimes gut-wrenching descriptions of the firefighter’s experience.