by Michael Gurnow
Having spent years contemplating a life-close-to-Nature like the one that Henry David Thoreau described in Walden, English teacher Michael Gurnow applied for a minimum-wage job as a Trail Maintenance Worker—and counted himself lucky to get it. His book is a comedy, filled with hair-raising tales of encounters with turkey buzzards the size of skinny gorillas, combative deer, walls of ticks, acres of poison ivy, fields of stinging nettles, and being mistaken by hikers for a deformed, purple-legged serial-killer hitchhiker. He learned that, for hikers who will not stay on designated paths, no real forest can ever be turned into a something completely stable, tidy, and safe.
If someday someone who has read Nature’s Housekeeper decides to create a forest theme park, he’ll probably start by leveling the site, discarding all its wildlife, sterilizing the soil, and guiding its steams into concrete channels. Then he’ll plant new trees and grass and import tons of butterflies, songbirds, and squirrels. A forest built in this way for billions will be undone completely by Mother Nature in a decade or so, without the expenditure of a nickel—proving that the forest theme-park builder didn’t read Nature’s Housekeeper very carefully after all. You can buy it at Amazon.com and see for yourself.