Like a benediction, we grow into a smaller language. So many words given up, disremembered, abandoned from tents & saw packs. What use here in the Middle Santiam Wilderness do we have for the word sink? When would we ever utter closet or phone or bank account? These words as unneeded as any third thumb, as unneeded as money or wallet or credit card. Girlfriend becomes little more than a weekend ghost. I give to you TV. I give to you movie theatre. I give to you radio. Do you want more words that these backwoods winds strip away? Take traffic jam. Take fuel pump. Take the 9-to-5. God, take commuting & pavement. Take asphalt & concrete. Take, please, we beg of you, microwave. Take power lines. Take nightly news. We give them all away.

Those words, they ache our new memories.

Sean Prentiss

Sean Prentiss is the author of the memoir, Finding Abbey: a Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave, which won the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award for History/Biography and is a finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. Prentiss is also the co-editor of The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction, a creative nonfiction craft anthology. And he is the co-author of the forthcoming environmental writing textbook, Environmental and Nature Writing: A Craft Guide and Anthology. He lives with his wife Sarah on a small lake in northern Vermont and serves as an assistant professor at Norwich University.

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