Welcome to Love of Place. Most of my work celebrates our connection to the natural world.

Most recently, my Knocking on Heaven's Door is the winner in the category of science fiction in the 2016 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards and in the category of fiction in the 2016 Arizona Authors Association Awards. A number of reviewers have been enthusiastic, including the website Geeks of Doom, which makes me smile. Not many people know me as a geek of doom! But I am happy to embrace the complexity of my personality.

I'm also so pleased that Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World has been awarded the 2016 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing, as well as the 2014 WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction from Women Writing the West.

My historical fantasy Teresa of the New World won the 2015 Arizona Authors Association Award for best Children's Literature and was a finalist for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Children's Literature, the WILLA Award for Children's Literature, and the May Sarton Award for Children's Literature.

These are nice landmarks in a writer's life. I would be writing regardless--but, still, whew. It's good to have some encouragement.

Feel free to contact me at http://www.sharmanaptrussell.com or through my author Facebook page, Sharman Apt Russell.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Where an arroyo meets the dirt road, I stop and look for tracks. A few feet up the stream bed is a nice set of bobcat prints. There’s no mistaking that roundness, the leading toe, and size of the front and back feet. I also see a fox print, or maybe a small coyote. Foxes are on my mind since I saw three earlier in the day, probably a mother and two kits who ran so quickly into the brush I spent a few minutes questioning what I had seen. Foxes are rarer since an outbreak of rabies some years ago. Was that a fox or a wish? 

That’s one good thing about tracks. They stay there. You can admire them for long minutes, imagining the animal who passed by, feeling the tangible presence of a bobcat, a wild cat, short-tailed, ear-tufted, delicately spotted, charismatic.

 It’s another gift, the world showering us with gifts, the tail of a fox, tracks in the sand, and there--growing up the shadowed bank of this arroyo, a mound of jimson weed, also called moon flower, also called thorn apple, also called sacred datura, the large, creamy, lavender-tinted, trumpet-shaped blossoms seeming to glow, exuding power and a rich scent. And next to the flower, here in this streambed, a massive dark rock with white radiating lines, a geometric pattern of dark and light, veins of quartz, cool to the touch.

Is this boulder for me? 

I feel the need to fall in love with the world, to forge that relationship ever more strongly. But maybe I don’t have to work so hard. Maybe the world is already in love, giving me these gifts all the time, calling out all the time. I have thought nature indifferent to one more human, to any human, but maybe the reverse is true. The world calls out: take this. Take this. And this. And this. Don’t turn away.

(Photo by Elroy Limmer)

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