The Story of a Wetland Year
After the deaths of her father and father-in-law, Laurie Lawlor discovers an unlikely place for healing and transformation in a wetland in southeastern Wisconsin—a landscape of abundant and sometimes inaccessible beauty that has often been ignored, misunderstood, and threatened by human destruction. In her decade-long personal wetland journey, she examines the sky, delves underwater, and peers between sedges in all seasons and all times of day.
This Tender Place is a celebration of nature, the elements, and humanity. From the wetland’s genesis during the ice age to its survival in the twenty-first century, Lawlor chronicles the universal ties among people, wild places, and healthy wetlands.
An engaging and deeply intimate record, This Tender Place is at its heart a story of refuge and renewal refracted through the lens of life within the wetlands—one of the most productive, yet most endangered, ecosystems in the world.
Awards and Recognition
- Wisconsin Library Association Literary Awards, Outstanding Achievement
Reviews and Comments
“Lawlor has a remarkably transparent style, the perfect vehicle for capturing the subtle beauty of the fen, a rare and precious form of wetland fed by underground limestone springs … Like the surprising fecundity of the unassuming fen, Lawlor’s seemingly placid book teems with hidden life and significant observations, as she reveals the beauty and inestimable value of an often-maligned by truly essential natural landscape.” (Booklist)
“If you bring your whole mind to the reading of this book, you will find yourself touching the reality of This Tender Place also with your eyes, your ears, your nose, your tongue, and your body … With your mind entirely present, you will find the past and the future fully available in the here and now … I am sure readers will experience a great deal of pleasure in reading This Tender Place.” (Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist teacher, peace activist, and author of more than 50 books)
“Nature lovers will be entranced by Lawlor’s descriptions of animals and the history of a place.” (Elizabeth McBride, Recipient of the Ellis-Henderson Outdoor Writing Award 1997, 1999, and contributor to the New York Times)
“Laurie Lawlor’s writing reflects her love for her wetland. At times the writing is so beautiful, so lyrical, it should be set to music.” (Joanne Flemming, Wisconsin writer)
“In the wetlands of southeast Wisconsin, Lawlor initiates a genuine relationship with the land. From spring peepers to sandhill cranes, there is an unyielding sense of her direct participation with nature, and through her encounters and descriptions one feels a new sense of belonging—a continuity with all life.” (Nina Leopold Bradley, daughter of Aldo Leopold, author of Sand County Almanac)
written by Laurie Lawlor
Terrace Books, 2005
University of Wisconsin Press