Longreads

When Henry David Thoreau wrote about living in a small cabin in the woods with intention, did he not imagine that readers would find out he went to his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house for dinner? Never mind that he had a support system, the truths that Thoreau articulated in his cabin in the woods across the tracks from Emerson’s house are no less true. As famous naturalist and author Bernd Heinrich says in this profile, you can’t “put a fence around nature” if you intend to be a part of it, just as you can’t shut out the modern world as you try to reconnect with nature.

For Outside, journalist Bill Donahue spends time in the snowy woods with the 77-year old Heinrich, to see what a naturalist does at the end of their career, and what it means to connect with nature in the 21st century. Even…

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