The Inner Green: Exploring Home in the Columbia Mountains
The Inner Green delves into the terrain of the physical, biological and human history of the Columbia Mountains. These personal and moving essays touch on both the common and rare and include explorations about the cedar bug, the source of the Salmo River, endangered mountain caribou among others. “This delightful book is about personal discovery and reverence for the Columbia Mountain region. If you want to explore one of the loveliest places on earth, while gaining insights into its special beauty, its ecology and the people who inhabit it, this is a book you should read.” Joan Snyder, Wildlife Biologist
The Idea of Home
by Luanne Armstrong from Winter 2005/2006 issue of Geist Magazine
On the web.
Most of the interesting books to be found on the subject of home and place, where we live and how we relate to it, are American, but The Inner Green (Maa Press) is a collection of natural history and personal essays by K.L. Kivi and Eileen Delehanty Pearkes about the place they live: the Columbia Mountain ecosystem in B.C. This book is about things that matter. It’s beautifully produced, it has been polished until the writing sings and one can refer to it whenever one wants to remember some interesting fact about cedar bugs. It’s about trees, squirrels, mountains, salmon and other inhabitants of a particular ecosystem, an amazing part of the world that is really an island in the mountains bounded by the Columbia and Kootenay rivers. The mountains, the natural diversity, the distance, the closed-in valleys in winter – all have contributed to a culture where people live out their dreams in various, often eccentric ways. The book provides an antidote to alienation and a glimpse into what it can mean to form a profound relationship with a particular place.
Local writers share their inner green, by Anne DeGrace
It’s rare that the preface of a book tells you to put it down. And yet, that’s what The Inner Green does. Go ahead,lay it on the table beside your favourite reading chair and move outside, it says.
When K.L. Kivi and Eileen Delehanty Pearkes wrote: The Inner Green: Exploring Home in the Columbia Mountains (MAA Press, October, 2005), they brought a reverence for both the natural world and the written word. If the book works, you put it down and go outside, where the red squirrel and the gentle stream take on a new glow. Even the lowly stink bug becomes a thing of wonder once Kivi has explored, with humour, her personal relationship with Geoffrey, representative of that ubiquitous clan.
The voices of the two writers are distinct: Kivi’s approach is personal and unapologetically down-to-earth, and for that reason may be more accessible to some readers. It’s hard not to be infected with her curiosity for rock formations and Rubber Boas. Pearkes’s approach is philosophical, steeped in the craft of language itself, with lines that resonate long after the page has turned. Both can get subtly political: effects of clearcut logging, or the survival of mountain caribou. As the two voices interweave, the reader is treated to a breadth of vision that, for the most part, shifts smoothly.
The balance in creative non-fiction can be a tricky one: what may be thin on hard scientific fact for those in the know may at times be technical enough to lose the lay reader. But creative non-fiction melds poetry and treatise: for those of us who lean towards storytelling, it’s a gentle, welcome way to learn. For the most part, Kivi and Pearkes kept this passionate fiction-reader’s interest.
The writing in The Inner Green is dominated by Kivi, who initiated the project. I kept looking for a pattern, a give and take between the two voices, but the chapters don’t alternate, although some are shared by both. Consequently, having become familiar with Kivi’s voice for an extended number of pages, I found the transition to Pearkes’s a little harder than it might have been. Nonetheless, these are strong writers with a gift for language and an infectious love for landscape that comes through in each page.
Pick up this book, but heed its advice: put it down from time to time and go outside, and there: find a landscape that will spark your curiosity, challenge you, and help you encounter your own inner green.
K. Linda Kivi and The Inner Green, 06 Jan 2006, Estonian World Review
On the web
Naturalist and author K.L. Kivi will be in Toronto on January 19th to promote her latest book, The Inner Green: Exploring Home in the Columbia Mountains.
The Tartu College Estonian Studies Library in association with the Tartu Institute and the University of Toronto Chair of Estonian Studies has organized an evening with K. Linda Kivi, beginning at 7 PM in the Tartu College Hall.
K.L. Kivi was born in Toronto and raised in the local Estonian community. Upon reaching adulthood she broke with the past of her culture of origin in search of her own sense of belonging and place. She has travelled extensively in Africa, Central America and Europe. For the last 15 years she has been a resident of the Columbia Mountains and lives on a land co-op in the Kootenay River valley.
The Inner Green records Kivi’s and co-author Eileen Delehanty Pearkes’ homecoming journey to the Columbia Mountains, a journey with an inward spiral.
En route they found that the “connection to place can draw each and every one of us toward the inner green, a heart-vision of the living natural world.”
This journey of personal discovery is expressed through reverent respect for the beauty and uniqueness of the Interior Temperate Rainforest ecosystems of the fourth largest watershed in North America via observation, adventure and personal experience.
Kivi’s Estonian heritage makes its presence felt throughout the book. A few examples are to be found in her exploration of the weight of her name, in celebrating Ussipäev, and recognizing the exuberant power of singing one’s heart out, be it as a simple wren or as a nation freeing itself from the Soviet system through the “Singing revolution”.
Coffee and discussion after readings from the book. The Inner Green will be available for purchase from the author. A lottery of recently arrived books from Estonia will also take place, proceeds to support the TC Estonian Studies Library.