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Going to Ground

A Journey through Chronic Pain, Aging and the Restorative Powers of Nature

Luanne Armstrong

In this warm and tender new collection of essays, award-winning writer Luanne Armstrong returns to her first love, the land, and delivers a nourishing blend of self-reflection, nature-inspired philosophy, and social critique.

At the age of five, Luanne Armstrong fell in love with the beauty of the land—the late afternoon sun on a field of emerald-green grass, the clucking of hungry chickens as she spread seed for their meals. Her growing years were spent subsistence farming with her family, living closely with the animals of the farm and immersing herself in the surrounding wilderness. Now, at seventy-two, she continues to garden—albeit a bit more slowly and on a much smaller scale—and to observe the world around her, both human and animal.

Going to Ground is a deeply intimate and meditative collection of personal essays exploring the intersections of chronic pain, the myths and stories that make us human, and the unexpected magic of finding your rage and joy reflected back to you by nature. Through these brave and vulnerable vignettes brimming with a lifetime’s worth of wisdom and filled with astonishing prose, Luanne Armstrong gets deeply personal about what it means to recover from traumatic brain injuries, grow older when you’ve fallen in love with being needed, and slow down enough to listen to nature, even when the message isn’t what you were expecting to hear.

In this mix of self-reflection, nature-inspired philosophy, and social critique, Armstrong helps us make sense of the complicated relationships between aging parents and their adult children, the changes brought about by climate change and technology, and the slow, surprising process of getting older when you belong to the generation that lived by the motto, “Never trust anyone over 30.”