To honor the legacy of John Burroughs, a pioneer of modern nature writing, the John Burroughs Association annually selects an Outstanding Published Nature Essay—past winners include Michael Pollan, Carl Safina, David Gessner, Jill Sisson Quinn, and Brian Doyle.
This year, we’re happy to report that the award goes to Rick Bass for his essay “The Larch,” which appeared in the September/October 2012 issue of Orion. Rick’s essay—which might be better described as a love letter—is an ode to a tree so unique it seems to light up the winter woods: “I love the odor of them, I love the sight and touch of them,” he writes. “I love to lean against them, to spread my arms around them, to touch the thick laminae of bark, to sit beneath them in storms while all else sways, as branches and streamers of moss whirl through the air.”
As the John Burroughs Association puts it, “’The Larch’ fits right in the tradition of a John Burroughs essay as it discovers ‘something everlastingly present in what appeared to be evanescent.’”
For more information about the John Burroughs Association, visit www.johnburroughsassociation.com; to read “The Larch” and the rest of the September/October 2012 issue of Orion, purchase a back issue at the Orion store.