“A series of absorbing, funny, tragic, and deeply present ruminations…Packed with a scientist’s curiosity and an artist’s imagination, she uses her walks the way Thoreau encouraged us to treat every journey into nature: as a lesson in how to accept, relish, and even seek out change.”
—John D’Agata, author of About a Mountain
It is in the Presidio National Park in San Francisco, California, that Leslie Carol Roberts walks. The Presidio, America’s only residential national park tucked wholly into an urban setting, is a fading historic forest. Here is where Leslie’s memories of other places, people, and travels emerge. Here is where the author’s home has been for more than a decade and here is the place she raised her two children as a single mother.
In this thickly textured literary treasure, Leslie turns her daily journeys, rich with observation and recollection, into revelations of deeper meaning. Through her daily walks into the Presidio, Leslie accepts the invitation of the beckoning trees and finds herself colliding with the urban coyote, the peculiar banana slug, and the manzanita. She notes both ridiculous and poignant aspects of human ecosystems—parents bragging about Austrian ski vacations, grocery stores packed with nannies—all in pursuit of what it means to live a life of creativity and creation.
The twelve episodes, each connected to a month of the year and interwoven with field notebooks, explore everything from Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone in the fields where he spoke with the birds to the work of Western botanist Alice Eastwood. Leslie reflects on the high school art teacher who first inspired her thinking about aesthetics, the tragic accident that left her severely injured, her subsequent work as a college professor teaching writing, and the loss of a beloved student to cancer. In all this, places of exquisite beauty and complexity provide her with exactly the scaffolding needed to survive, with nature serving as a tonic. Here Is Where I Walk provides a vivid answer to how we can find our place, not only in nature but within ourselves and the world we walk.
Leslie Carol Roberts is an author, journalist, and essayist. She is also professor and chair of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California.
“This is no ordinary nature book…Rather, it is a profound meditation on the intersection of many different histories, lives, and fates, all of which reveal different facets of a thoroughly engaging literary imagination.” —Christopher Merrill, author of Self-Portrait with Dogwood