An extraordinary account of searching for the wildness left in our world – spanning continents and geological eras, skies and oceans, animals and birds, and even the planets and stars.
With dizzying acuity and insight Roberts paints a portrait of a life and its landscapes, creating precious connections with wild creatures and places, from swans
in the Cambrian Mountains to wolves in the Pacific Northwest. By walking at dawn and dusk, in the two lights of awakening and deepening, through the stripped, windswept hills of Wales, and the jungles and savannahs of Africa, he tries to navigate from a soul-stripping sense of loss towards hope in the future.
In the presence of wild creatures he finds a way back to life.
‘Twilight is the time of day I love most. Forms dissolve, accompanied by the slow quieting ofthe earth. The land shape-shifts. There is an out breath, particularly in places like this where most living things are inhabitants of the light. Dusk is the best time to be in the uplands. It allows you to come to your senses. In the valley below the hedges begin to erase, the scissored lines of the fields blur, barns and farmhouses sink into the dark. The trees seem to hold their forms longest, bleeding an inky stain which lingers into night. There’s a hypnotising quality to this fluidity of life. In some of the bleakest times of my life I’ve gone to the hills at dusk just so I can breathe, walking to an out-of-the-way spot overlooking the valley and mountains beyond. There I can find the place inside me that watches, that point of attention beyond the tangled ruminations, observing the transience of things. As the place fades back to its essence, shedding the scars, so do I.’
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR
‘A moving meditation on loss and fragility, tenderly tracing a love of wild creatures across landscapes of damaged yet deeply felt meaning. A book of startling and generous beauty, it finds light in the wondrous presence of others and the interconnectedness of all living things.”
Julian Hoffman, author of Irreplaceable, highly commended for the Wainwright Prize
‘A book about what it means to be fully alive in a time of endings: personal, planetary. Deeply moving and rich in surprising perspectives on wild places and our relationship to them.’
Tanya Shadrick, author of The Cure for Sleep, a Waterstones best biography 2022
‘A beautifully written, wonderfully tender, ultimately hopeful praise poem to all that we stand to lose on this ever-more-challenged-earth.’
Sharon Blackie, author of If Women Rose Rooted and Roger Deakin Award Winner
Deeply personal yet always outward looking, James Roberts delights in the world he discovers about him. Yet he also trembles, because he understands like winter light, that world is diminished… and diminishing… Two Lights reveals why all of us should be writers.
Robert Minhinnick, twice Forward Prize winner
Published by September Publishing