The Ashokan Way: Landscape’s Path into ConsciousnessBy Gail Straub, foreword by Stephen Cope, art by Kate McGloughlin (Homebound Publications, 2018) Buy It Now
Empowerment Institute cofounder Gail Straub works with survivors of genocide, poverty, sexual trafficking—ravages of body and soul. She heals her spirit with daily walks at the Ashokan Reservoir’s “mountain cathedral.” These pungent, lyrical essays map the cycles of a year, appropriately moving from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving; the book is an act of gratitude. Enfolded by Kate McGloughlin’s luminous artwork, Straub’s prose often waxes rhapsodic (“I want to bow down to the mist, the wind, and the light”). The changing landscape evokes deep connections to her father’s blighted childhood, her mother’s death, and her own far-flung travels; a Catskill snowstorm evokes a Saharan sandstorm. Mindful walking is a meditative practice—literally following a spiritual path—and fellow travelers of the sublime will embrace The Ashokan Way.