An impassioned call for recognizing and preserving the ecological wonders of the Allegheny Plateau
Yosemite National Park, Louisiana’s bayou, the rocky coasts of New England, the desert Southwest—America’s more dramatic locations are frequently celebrated for their natural beauty, but far less has been written about Ohio’s unique and beautiful environment. Author Deborah Fleming, who has lived in rural Ohio and cared for its land for decades, shares fourteen interrelated essays, blending her own experiences with both scientific and literary research. Resurrection of the Wild discusses both natural and human histories as it focuses on the Allegheny Plateau and hill country in Ohio’s eastern counties.
These lyrical meditations delve into life on Fleming’s farm, the impacts of the mining and drilling industries, fox hunting, homesteading families, the lives of agriculturalist Louis Bromfield and John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed), and Ohio’s Amish community. Fleming finds that our very concept of freedom must be redefined to include preservation and respect for the natural world. Ultimately, Resurrection of the Wild becomes a compelling argument for the importance of ecological preservation in Ohio, and Fleming’s perspective will resonate with readers both within and beyond this “forgotten” state’s borders.
Deborah Fleming is an equestrian, mountain climber, and organic gardener who writes poetry, fiction, essays, and works of scholarship. The recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, and Ashland University, she has published books on Yeats, Jeffers, and Synge and has edited two collections of essays on Yeats. Three of her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes.
“Every place on Earth needs a writer as attentive as Deborah Fleming, to study it with a loving and clear-eyed gaze. In these fourteen essays, she explores the natural and human history of her home ground, the hill country of eastern Ohio, a landscape battered by strip mining, careless farming, and deforestation. Yet wildness persists, there as everywhere, an irrepressible creative force. With a wealth of examples, Fleming demonstrates how nature’s resilience, aided by human care, can restore the land to health. May her book inspire readers to join such healing efforts in their own home places.”
—Scott Russell Sanders, author of Earth Works: Selected Essays
“Whether writing about her garden, or raising horses, or the impact of coal mining, Deborah Fleming offers an intimate natural history of her farm and her state. By book’s end, Ohio is no longer dull, barren fly-over land, but one beautiful, fragile web of ecological relationships to which Fleming belongs and is committed.”
—Tom Montgomery Fate, author of Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father’s Search for the Wild
“In stylish and eloquent prose, Fleming describes pleasures like a walk in the woods: “In winter the trees seemed all
upright trunks, and snow turned the bushes to lace; in spring the dogwood flowered white, and birdsong surrounded
me.” She writes about farming and horses in Ashland County, where “we reuse or recycle all we can.” She talks about
working a garden by hand: “pulling weeds can be a chore or an exercise in natural history.” Her closeness to and love
of the land and its creatures permeate the book. Reflections on the work of key environmental figures including Henry
David Thoreau and Johnny Appleseed also arise. Fleming notes that “for all our wanderings, home is the place that forges our character.” Resurrection of the Wild is a literary journey home that is well worth following.”
—Barry Silverstein, Foreword Reviews