- Kids & Teens
- Programs & Events
- Gift Cards
- My Account
"Throughout my life," writes Jeff Darren Muse, "manhood has been a kind of topographic map. Yet it's peer pressure or social norms telling me which route to follow: Smile, Jeff, have a beer. Make babies. Make lots of money. Buy yourself a leaf blower. Hang out at parties. Lighten up."
So begins this unflinching look at a fifty-one-year-old environmental educator torn by restlessness and regret. Part Generation X travelogue, part love letter, part reflection on White male identity, Dear Park Ranger searches for purpose, companionship, a lost father, and home. Muse must break trail to find his way. From the farms and football fields of central Indiana, to snowy West Coast wildlands, from desert canyons, to meandering rivers, to a city built by slavery, he interrogates his younger years shaped by insecurity and wanderlust, as well as later choices such as marrying "Ranger Paula" and pursuing a tree hugger's career. The book opens in South Carolina, where Muse works as a historical interpreter at a former cotton plantation, a situation demanding not only new skills, but also discomforting awareness. Race, gender, age-all must be examined.
Dear Park Ranger is for anyone who loves fiercely and falls hard, who tries and tries again to get the important things right: handholding on long walks, a swift paddle stroke, a lighter backpack, and never giving up hope that better days lie ahead. At turns humorous and self-deprecating, redemptive and resolute, this is one man's stirring gut check through inner and outer terrain.