“Wild,” a Book Review

After hiking 1,000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail (from the Smokies of North Carolina to the corn fields of Pennsylvania), I finally allowed myself the chance to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I had been putting this off, not wanting another woman's long-distance hike to muddy my own, until a friend let me borrow her … Continue reading “Wild,” a Book Review

Reading American Romanticism with Students after the Election

"What is wanted is men, not of policy, but of probity--who recognize a higher law than the Constitution, or the decision of the majority. The fate of the country does not depend on how you vote at the polls--the worst man is as strong as the best at that game; it does not depend on … Continue reading Reading American Romanticism with Students after the Election

Music as Thinking: Going Back to the Trail with William James

Coming back to New York City after hiking 500 miles in "the green tunnel" of the Appalachian Trail was extremely difficult. I was cranky even at my best, and felt guilty for having been out of touch with my loved ones for so long. It was as if we had been in Narnia, Moose would say, … Continue reading Music as Thinking: Going Back to the Trail with William James

Hiking Like a Woman

Twenty-five percent of thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail are women, and, let me tell you, these are hardcore women who take after the Mary Rowlandsons and Hannah Dustans of America. Before I reached the 100-mile mark, however, I had already heard several hikers use the phrase, "I'm going to take this mountain like a man," … Continue reading Hiking Like a Woman

“Leave No Trace”: When American Transcendentalism Leads to Wilderness Preservation

Having hiked over 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail this summer, dutifully carrying a copy of Thoreau's writings with me, there are certain habits I've cultivated with a now-ingrained daily routine that I'll take with me off the trail. The "Leave No Trace" policy of American hiker culture is what keeps the Appalachian Trail special for everyone … Continue reading “Leave No Trace”: When American Transcendentalism Leads to Wilderness Preservation

Losing a Wild Soundscape 

Hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer has been a musical experience beyond anything I could have predicted. I've now hiked over 300 miles along the state line of North Carolina and Tennessee, arriving in Virginia yesterday just in time for the shocking gun-like echo of fireworks. Before I get to that, let me share with … Continue reading Losing a Wild Soundscape 

Walking the Walk: Combining Graduate Study with Teaching

"How womankind, who are confined to the house still more than men, stand it I do not know; but I have ground to suspect that most of them do not stand it at all." --Henry David Thoreau, "Walking" As I prepare to teach "Gender in the American Renaissance" and "American Literature: Origins to the Civil … Continue reading Walking the Walk: Combining Graduate Study with Teaching