Sunday, March 16 at 4:00 pm

Sunday Speaker Series: Catherine Reid, Author of Falling into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home

REID-FallingIntoPlaceJoin us on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. as we welcome literary nature writer Catherine Reid to our Sunday Speaker Series.  In her new book Falling Into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home, Ms. Reid treats nature in its various forms—trees, rivers, animals, and landscapes—as a lens to probe how the natural and the human worlds, constantly changing in ways both good and bad, share rhythms and instincts that unite and provide every being with a sense of belonging.In Falling Into Place, Reid renders personal reflection and comfort from the natural surroundings of her native New England, drawing out and sharing moments of peace and contemplation through her prose.  Probing the way in which a natural environment envelops and transforms its inhabitants, Reid observes how the New England landscape has soothed the emotional tension between herself and her father, once alienated by her homosexuality.  Elsewhere, Reid writes of the shared emotional space that nature provides to herself and her grandmother, who, in ways, grew more aloof and alone in old age, but who found companions in the sparrows and finches that flocked to her windowsills.


Reid also draws attention to ongoing environmental degradation.  While walking through a forest of hemlock trees, Reid admires how the trees have been living and growing for centuries and how much history they have held and “witnessed,” but she also writes that in recent times, they have “felt the pressure of acid rain, of a thinning ozone layer, of the sheer weight of human life pressing down on the planet”; she laments that the hemlocks’ “rich trove of stories is about to cease gathering.”  As Reid shares other images of a spoiled environment, she not only indicates the toxic results of human actions, but also asks if people have the authority—or the necessary knowledge—to try to effect change in nature.  However, writing specifically of some of the small towns she has seen rally behind environmental protection, Reid celebrates the potential of human collaboration and community effort amid the forces of a changing world. 

Photo by: Erin Brethauer

Photo by: Erin Brethauer


About the Author

Catherine Reid directs the undergraduate creative writing program at Warren Wilson College, where she teaches courses in creative nonfiction and environmental writing. She is the author of Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst and of essays that have appeared in such journals as the Georgia Review, Fourth Genre, Bellevue Literary Review, and Massachusetts Review. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenfield, MA.

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