It should perhaps not surprise us that some of the most profoundly moving literary meditations on nature are inspired not by pristine wilderness far from human habitation, but by places in the borderlands that lie just, in Lord Dunsany’s famous phrase, “beyond the Fields We Know.” In the foreword to her new book Reservoir Year: A Walker’s Book of Days, Nina Shengold drily observes that even Henry David Thoreau’s iconic Walden Pond lay “down the road from his parents’ house, where the apostle of solitude often ate lunch . . .
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