I am a personal essayist and a student of wild nature, a human animal in conversation with the more than human world.
I grew up in New England, wandered widely, and am rooting firmly in the land of ravens and salmon, amidst the towering cedars and moody mists of the Pacific Northwest.
My first book, published in 2019 by Wandering Angus Press, is an exploration of wandering in wild nature. In these deeply personal and intellectually curious essays, I explore wild America weaving the perspectives of trained ecologist, inquisitive philosopher, and restless nomad, probing intricacies of the natural world as profoundly as I do myself. Part scientifically-informed nature writing, part soul-searching memoir, Going Feral is the story of a human animal learning to belong to the earth.
Praise for Going Feral
“As one way to be the restoration architects of Eden, we can kindle a saving kinship with earth through the kind of sensory immersion, and resulting engine of discovery, described evocatively by Heather Durham’s Going Feral. To go into the wild like this requires a kind of rich hurt that teaches viscerally, and Durham takes the reader through accounts of deep engagement that pay dividends in awareness, curiosity, and wisdom. She’s not afraid to be afraid, not timid about the threshold to true encounter, and we are lucky for that. Read this book as a field guide to building your own agenda for going feral for moments of insight, and a life of change.”
—Kim Stafford, Former Oregon Poet Laureate and author of Wild Honey, Tough Salt
“These essays range far, challenge comfort, reveal grace, and often end on landing-points of shocking rightness, in language as lush and right as that world it conveys. A reader could be stirred up here, could be reminded to wander a little (or a lot), could be inspired to shut up and hunker down and let the awkward perfection of the wild reveal itself. Something like hope could appear. Something like spirit.”
-David Oates, author of The Mountains of Paris: How Awe and Wonder Rewrote My Life
Due out in 2022 from Homebound Publications: Wolf Tree, a Personal Ecopsychology
Wolf Tree is an ecopsychological memoir-in-essays wherein I meld my backgrounds in psychology and ecology to examine my relationships with landscapes, animals, and human animals, and the myriad environmental, physiological, and cultural factors that inform those relationships. In lyric or more traditional personal essays, linear narratives or meandering musings, I follow threads of self-awareness, consciousness, solitude vs. escapism, ecophysiology, mental health, and the difficulties and rewards of connecting with all those outside our own skins.