Mountain Time
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Mountain Time

A Field Guide to Astonishment

Title Details

Pages: 196

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 03/15/2024

ISBN: 9-798-9887-3212-9

List Price: $18.95


Pub Date: 03/15/2024

ISBN: 9-798-9887-3213-6

List Price: $10.95


Pub Date: 03/15/2024

ISBN: 9-798-9887-3216-7

List Price: $10.95

Mountain Time

A Field Guide to Astonishment

The power of nature to influence an understanding of the human spirit

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Mountain Time: A Field Guide to Astonishment is an essay collection that explores the inner and outer natures of remarkable human and nonhuman beings. It is a book about paying attention—with the mind and with the heart. The essays confront the ethical and personal challenges Renata Golden faced in a harsh and isolated environment and examine the power of nature to influence her understanding of the human spirit. The lessons she learned on the borders of Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico jolted her out of her customary way of seeing the world—which is the transformative power of a thin place, where the borders between the sublime and the profane melt away.

The essays call attention to the animals that are often shunned—pack rats, rattlesnakes, ants, prairie dogs, and other desert dwellers that some consider better dead than alive. Many of the animals in these essays are at risk of extinction. The essays honor these animals for the role they play in the wild world and for their unique abilities, such as cooperative societies and complex language skills. By recognizing the animals’ value, Golden gives readers reasons to be moved to save them, if it’s not too late.

In Mountain Time, Renata Golden writes that mountains create a 'constant hum' connecting the very core of the earth to our own skin. She interweaves stories from her own life with riveting accounts about the Apache and Irish, yucca and Lehmann’s love grass, kangaroo rats and leopard frogs who have made a home somewhere and sometime in the complex topography of the southwestern borderland she loves. Golden’s gorgeous, instructive collection is the guidebook we need now.

—Camille T. Dungy, author of Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden

In this luminous collection, Renata Golden offers us an un-easy love story: with birds and people, mountains and family, history and place. Elegantly researched and exquisitely crafted, these essays have a depth and range that will delight and, yes, astonish.

—Susan Fox Rogers, author of Learning the Birds and editor of When Birds Are Near

Renata Golden’s Mountain Time would be at home with Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek or Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire—or, best, with Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, for humility and listening and deep awareness of multiple stories and voices. But these gemlike sentences are Golden’s own, and they woo me into an affair with a place I’ve never been. Fierce and beguiling, funny and brave, this is a book about love: how to love a place where you find yourself a visitor, and how to love the life you’ve won for yourself.

—Joni Tevis, author of The World Is on Fire

Golden is here to remind us that where there is beauty and wonder, there is still hope.

—JoeAnn Hart, EcoLit Books

You read [A Field Guide for Astonishment] not for its matter-of-fact guidance but for its complexity instead. Rather than tell you what to do, it asks you to think: about history, people, and the natural world—and humankind’s collisions among them all.

—B.J. Hollars,

About the Author/Editor

RENATA GOLDEN has studied the natural world in Arizona and New Mexico for decades. Her writing appears in literary journals and anthologies, including Dawn Songs: A Birdwatcher's Field Guide to the Poetics of Migration; First and Wildest: The Gila Wilderness at 100; and When Birds Are Near. Her essays have been finalists for the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Award, Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award, Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction, and Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University Award. Originally from the South Side of Chicago, she lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. To read more, visit