Where do we find sanctuary? How do we create it? And how do we keep it? This book is an extended meditation on these questions, as well as an exploration of particular places that have been sanctuaries in the author’s life.

Weaving personal stories together with geography, history, and ecology, Sanctuary delves into some of Earth’s most powerful and important natural forces: pollination, volcanic activity, and flowing water. Starting in a pine tree in the back yard of the author’s childhood home, and ending on a windswept beach on the coast of Iceland, these essays explore how human beings are sustained, in body and spirit, by our connection to the rest of this splendid planet.

A note on the text: If you purchased Sanctuary before August 2021, there is an error at the bottom of page 74, in the essay “Blessed by Water.” I write that Thunder Creek flows into Ross Lake. This is incorrect. Thunder Creek flows into Diablo Lake. I apologize for this error. It has been corrected in copies printed after 8/20/21.

The galleries  below are a supplement to Sanctuary. These galleries will change routinely, to feature a particular essay, location, or theme. I encourage you to revisit this space from time to time, to see what is new. If I could figure out how to put “scratch and sniff” photos on my website, I surely would. I’d also add hearing, taste, and touch. But even with all of that, it would not be possible for a photo to fully capture the essence of a place. To be there is better. I hope these photos inspire you to get outside and seek out your own sanctuaries.



Only Water


Columnar Basalt





The Westfjords & The Grand Canyon