Feet securely on the ground, I’m feeling like a rock-climbing pro—that is, until I find out the name of this wall. “It’s called the K Wall,” Jason tells me. “We used to call it the Kindergarten Wall, but people didn’t seem to like the sound of that.”
In 2005, at the age of 23, the writer Guy Choate set out with a childhood friend to walk every step across the country and write a book about the experience. The trip did not go as planned—his friend flew home from Arizona, and Choate hitchhiked a decent portion of the remaining distance—but a dozen years later, he says, he does have a manuscript about the experience. This excerpt, written in the third person, comes from 70 days into the trip, when he and his newly adopted dog were in southern Missouri.
One morning, I went to start the faucet to water our cool-season vegetable garden and saw, just beneath the eave of the house, a Gulf fritillary that had emerged from its chrysalis. Its body dripped with liquid, the cracked shell of its transformation hanging above it. My daughters came and squatted beside me, watching it wait to join the fray.
Naturalist Kent Bonar had been carrying the book for decades: a well-worn, well-loved copy of “An Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas.” However, as a soon-to-be-released edition of the landmark text reveals, Kent was far from the casual reader