The Solace of Open Spaces


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Table of Contents

The Solace Of Open SpacesPreface

The Solace of Open Spaces
Other Lives
About Men
From a Sheepherder's Notebook
Friends, Foes, and Working Animals
The Smooth Skull of Winter
On Water
Just Married
Rules of the Game
To Live in Two Worlds
A Storm, the Cornfield, and Elk

About the Author

Gretel Ehrlich is the author of This Cold Heaven, The Future of Ice, Heart Mountain, Facing the Wave, and The Solace of Open Spaces, among other works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Ehrlich studied at Bennington College and UCLA film school. She lives in Wyoming.


Many urbanites sojourn in the West to commune with nature in the wide-open spaces, but few have related their experiences, or so fully captured the essence of Wyoming, as well as this author. She was sent from New York to the Big Horn region in 1976 to make a film about sheepherders. To recover from the death of a loved one, she wandered near and far for two years before returning to northern Wyoming, where she finally found solace. The vivid descriptions of the physical aspects of her surroundings are more than balanced by her poetic commentaries on the nature of the sheepherders, cowpokes, and Native Americans who inhabit the area. This paean to Wyoming should find a place in all special collections on the West and would be a fine addition to general collections. Sondra Brunhumer, Western Mich. Univ. Libs., Kalamazoo

Like many before her, poet Gretel Ehrlich discovered the therapeutic qualities of the West. In 1976, a time of personal crisis, she moved from the East to a small farm in Wyoming where she ultimately found peace of mind and inspiration. Originally, she had gone west to make a film for PBS; she returned to work with neighbors at cattle- and sheep-ranching, taking pleasure in open spaces. Ehrlich writes with sensitivity and affection about people, the seasons and the landscape. Whether she is enjoying solitude or companionship, her writing evokes the romance and timelessness of the West. November

Praise for Gretel Ehrlich and The Solace of Open Spaces:

"Any one of [its 12 chapters] stands beautifully on its own . . . She brings the long vistas into focus with the poise of an Ansel Adams." -The New York Times Book Review

"A stunning rumination on life on Wyoming's High Plains . . . Ehrlich's gorgeous prose is as expansive as a Wyoming vista, as charged as a bolt of prairie lightning." -Newsday

"Ehrlich's best prose belongs in a league with Annie Dillard and even Thoreau. The Solace of Open Spaces releases the bracing air of the wilderness into the stuffy, heated confines of winter in civilization." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Ehrlich [is] a gifted essayist and nature writer." -The Washington Post

"Vivid, tough, and funny . . . an exuberant and powerful book." -Annie Dillard

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