Zen of the Plains
Experiencing Wild Western Places
Literary Non-Fiction - Natural History
6 x 9, 288 pp.
40 b&w illus. 5 maps. Notes.
Pub Date: 05/09/2014
Southwestern Nature Writing Series
Price:        $24.95


Published by University of North Texas Press

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Zen of the Plains

Experiencing Wild Western Places

Tyra A. Olstad

Although spare, sweeping landscapes may appear “empty,” plains and prairies afford a rich, unique aesthetic experience—one of quiet sunrises and dramatic storms, hidden treasures and abundant wildlife, infinite horizons and omnipresent wind, all worthy of contemplation and celebration.  In this series of narratives, photographs, and hand-drawn maps, Tyra Olstad blends scholarly research with first-hand observation to explore topics such as wildness and wilderness, travel and tourism, preservation and conservation, expectations and acceptance, and even dreams and reality in the context of parks, prairies, and wild, open places. In so doing, she invites readers to reconsider the meaning of “emptiness” and ask larger, deeper questions such as: how do people experience the world? How do we shape places and how do places shape us? Above all, what does it mean to experience that exhilarating effect known as Zen of the plains?

TYRA A. OLSTAD has worked as a seasonal park ranger, cave guide, and paleontology technician for the National Park Service and US Forest Service in Arizona, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Alaska. An alumna of Dartmouth College, the University of Wyoming, and Kansas State University, she currently teaches at SUNY Oneonta.


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