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Synopsis

Imagine a night long campfire somewhere on the Kaweah River surrounded by, among others, Lao Tsu, Joseph Campbell, Clarence King (the first man to map the Great Western Divide), and Chappo, the last chief of the Potwisha. Hanging around the fringes, between the light and the dark, are Coyote and Crow. These are the spirits that inform the book as it continually poses the question, “Who are we really?” throughout the long dark night that moves toward dawn.

In a panoramic vision that extends from the depths of the Pacific Ocean to the lake-encrusted, high granite peaks above the timberline of the Southern Sierra Nevada, John Spivey takes the reader on a tour of the California landscape. The tour also includes the topography of our minds as it explores the valleys and peaks, the crags and meanders of the way we are.

Spivey draws on his heritage as a descendent of one of the pioneer families of the Kaweah watershed of the Sierra Nevada. The book intertwines family tales of loss, Christian myth, Zen/Taoist stories and the history of the Yokuts Indians into a potent Pacific Rim brew of what it means to walk the dusty human road.

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