ForeWord Reviews

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Foreword Review — Sept / Oct 2002

“We are the animals and the animals are us,” says the author. In this sadistic world, animals are everywhere: in the wilderness where grizzlies await their prey, and in the city where humans have their own predatory nature.

The life of a Fire Lookout can be lonely. Yet in its element, man has the ability to reflect, nurture, and expand his thinking. In this environment, the lookout is responsible only for himself while at the same time always watching, waiting for the first sign of danger to the forest he strives to protect. Horvath has two decades of experience being the “eyes in the sky” throughout the Bow-Crow Forest in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Southern Alberta. With his thoughtful commentary, he expands on his reading and studies in this collective sequel to Wilderness Alchemy.

The observations Horvath shares are told from the climate in which he resides. “City Observations,” written during his winter season, looks at how city life permeates the soul. In spring, as Horvath returns to the reality of raw nature, “Wilderness Observations” entices deep and passionate thoughts as the outer shell of the city peels away.

Understanding this commentary requires seeing city life from Horvath’s viewpoint. With an intriguing mix of lore and fact, this results in a philosophical examination for each aspect of life that is related back to the solitary reaction of the human mind. Horvath tells of a friend who would only visit if she could bring her car, yet she regularly ran at night near a riverbank in Chinatown. Animals lurk in both places, says Horvath: “The measure is in the infliction of harm. The harm of the criminal to another human, and the harm of a bear injuring a human-both meet in the word violence, that of inflicting harm.”

Observations from a Lookout is an inspiration of intellect with a reflection upon the inner self. It is a dialogue of human nature and consequence questioning the vulnerability of life. Although Horvath jumps from one subject to another with little transition, the impact of his analogical essays creates the path to become one with the wilderness and a greater understanding of the nature in which we reside.