Rust Belt Arcana: Tarot and Natural History in the Exurban Wilds (Paperback)
A young bear--The Fool--is cast off from its mother in the spring to wander a fragmented suburban forest, to be harried by dogs and traffic, chased through golf courses and farms. An ocean-going trout climbs industrial, sewage-tainted rivers in the Midwest. The river is both sick and healthy, the trout, understood here as The Magician, is both wild and made. What does the Tarot have to tell us about the flora and fauna of the industrial Midwest? Rust Belt Arcana uses this time-tested structure to explain, juxtaposing the characteristics of the cards of the Tarot's Major Arcana to the creatures and plants around us. The idiosyncratic essays that result connect biology and natural history to the human condition; they are stories of abundance and loss, limning the persistent remnant wilderness of the Rust Belt. Exploring this natural history helps us to see beauty in a beleaguered landscape often dismissed as unremarkable, and to define our remarkable place in it.