Kissed by a Fox
AND OTHER STORIES OF FRIENDSHIP IN NATURE
Counterpoint Press, 2012
Through heart-opening stories from her own life, Stuckey shows the depth of relationship possible with the birch tree in our backyard, the nearby urban creek, the dog who settles on our bed each night. She invites readers into a different story of nature—into a livelier, more personal universe where people and place are not separate and where other creatures respond to human need. With the eloquence of the great nature writers before her, Stuckey encourages us to open ourselves to deeper connection with nature.
Read the opening chapter of Kissed by a Fox.
More about Kissed by a Fox
Praise for Kissed by a Fox
“Through a tenderly woven collection of essays that blend personal reflections with spirituality, philosophy, animal behaviorism, evolution, geology and ecology, first-time author Stuckey explores the great rift between the living, breathing world and the modern culture bent on developing and destroying it. . . . The narratives are well paced, using flashbacks wisely, and the language lyrical, possessing a poet’s cleverness of rhythm. . . . [An] entertaining and emotionally resonant book.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Stuckey’s book does make you look differently at the things around you, not just your dog or cat, but the trees you carelessly brush by on your way to the bus stop, or the squirrel that darts across your path. . . . That is her point—for us to finally see nature, to remember to take in that beauty as we saunter by. . . . It’s a book about hope.” —HEATHER LOGUE, SEATTLE STAR
“She weaves her own narrative together with insights into how to heal our culture and its diseased relationship with nature, drawn from her experiences of communion with neighbors such as rocks and creeks, bougainvilleas and birches, eagles and foxes, and dogs and cats. . . . Stuckey’s accounts of ‘friendship in nature’ are many, each tale breathtaking. . . . How profound and beautiful her vision is of community, of intimacy, of paying attention to and cherishing our neighbors of all species and sorts—and how powerful and persuasive!”—BARBARA K. DARLING, JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGION, NATURE, CULTURE
“Priscilla Stuckey explores our Western spiritual and political choices and argues for a new approach to nature, all of it. Her argument for a wider definition of justice, for a new understanding of stewardship, is compelling, and [she] has shaped it into an artful and engaging narrative. . . . I bought a copy of her book as a gift before I’d even completed this review. It’s that good.” —SUSAN SCHOCH, STORY CIRCLE NETWORK
“She seamlessly blends memoir, philosophy, and meditation on our role in the natural world . . . but she always comes back to our connection with nature. . . . As we are guided through the years of Stuckey’s journey to understanding her relationship with nature . . . we come to the realization of our own connections with the natural world.” —BOOKLIST
“Filled with poetry, cultural history, and a variety of religious and philosophical perspectives, this unusual memoir is both mind-expanding and heartwarming.” —BAS BLEU
“Kissed by a Fox will make you think about life and nature in a different way.” —TEMPLE GRANDIN, author of Animals in Translation
“Kissed by a Fox is a work of the soul by a naturally gifted writer. Priscilla Stuckey tackles one of the most elusive subjects: the relationship of the human spirit to the rest of the natural world, and the impact on our humanity when we distance ourselves from it. This is a book of healing.” —RICHARD LOUV, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods
“Stuckey shows us how to see, from the open mind and heart—birds, animals, rocks, plants. Her experience of the natural world is so direct and authentic that we can’t help but feel it too. Her original thinking about nature, people, and spirit enlivens the contemporary discourse with its rigor and emotional coherence. The writing is gorgeous. . . . This book, at once powerful and lovely, will help us make [future] choices with true intelligence and heart.” —GAIL STOREY, author of I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail
“So okay, Kissed by a Fox, I figure cool metaphor, right? Nope.
The fox was real, and so was the kiss. Reader, prepare yourself. I love Priscilla Stuckey’s book for its honesty, its lyrical evocations of the natural world, its wry humor, but above all for the compelling stories inside of stories inside of stories, all of which conspire to persuade us that we are critters—gloriously so, set down in a world of critters no less wondrous than ourselves, and that if we can just follow through on this understanding we stand to gain just about everything.” —CAROL LEE FLINDERS, author of Rebalancing the World
“Stuckey offers not just her story of disaffection from nature and the long journey back into oneness with the earth. She also educates us about the historical and philosophical context. . . I’m impressed by the skillful way in which she moves between the two worlds. . . . Kissed by a Fox is an elegant and moving work of art.” —MARILYN KRYSL, author of Dinner with Osama and Swear the Burning Vow
“Prophetic calls to live more justly are rarely as beautiful as Priscilla Stuckey’s Kissed by a Fox. We are offered stories of intertwined lives, encounters between members of different species, discoveries of intimacies with rocks, plants, galaxies, pets, and wild things. We are invited to build an Earth-friendly culture by simply living more respectfully among others. It is a compelling call.” —GRAHAM HARVEY, author of Animism: Respecting the Living World
“An amazing philosophical memoir that weaves together the author’s personal stories of ‘friendship in nature’ with an insightful history of Western thought, or failure of thought, on nature and the environment.” —JULENE BAIR, author of The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning and One Degree West
“Priscilla Stuckey’s treatment of the relations between religious communities and nature is the best I’ve ever read. And her beautiful writing both warms my heart and brings shivers of heartache and understanding.” —STEPHEN JONES, coauthor of Peterson Field Guide to the North American Prairie, Colorado Nature Almanac, Butterflies of the Colorado Front Range, and Wild Boulder County.
“Reading Kissed by a Fox reminded me that this beautiful earth and all it holds naturally can be the source of inspiration, connection, and, if cared for, ongoing physical and mental health. This book drew me back to the basic guidelines of my life.” —ROSEMARY CARSTENS, The Feast
“Priscilla Stuckey elegantly weaves into this memoir the many grasses that make up the fields and open spaces of her life. . . . She reaches out to the world, tentatively at first, but the world reaches back and draws her to it. A bald eagle. A red fox. A baby oriole . . . each animal’s story an integral part of the ecosystem of her life. . . . Some books sprint to the finish line, but this is the work of a lifetime.” —PAGE LAMBERT, All Things Literary. All Things Natural
“An eloquently written and thought-provoking book. . . . Stuckey is skilled at seeing with new eyes, and at putting that vision into words. . . . The connections she makes are fascinating and convincing. . . . Her experiences are compelling evidence that all things have . . . a life force, and what is important is developing a partnership with them.” —HELEN MANION, Prescott College Transitions
“[Kissed by a Fox] is a courageous book that beautifully illustrates how personal practices that deepen our relationships with all the beings among whom we live enable us to participate in a rejuvenating conversation with an animate Earth. . . . It is striking how your internal healing and the work you did to heal Earth are so intimately connected in your story. Recognising the Self/ spirit/ subjectivity of other beings allows us to participate in what Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme refer to as the ‘communion’ that holds the Earth community and cosmos together.” —CORMAC CULLINAN, author of Wild Law and coauthor of “The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth”
Interview on New Dimensions Radio
Stuckey begins this conversation by telling three stories—how an eagle, a bougainvillea bush, and the birch tree of her childhood all communicated with her in some way. We think we are alone but Stuckey points out, “We are deeply connected with all others with whom we share our lives.” She encourages us to be aware of our connection with all the life that surrounds us, even in cities. In response to the idea that the world is a community rather than a collection of objects she poses the question: “How do we interact with the more than human world as equal members of community, rather than trying to treat the world around us as if it was created only to serve human needs?” She gives an example of how a neighborhood became a land trust and cleaned up Peralta Creek. She also tells the story of being kissed by a wild red fox. This conversations serves as an example of what we can do together to care for the earth. (Hosted by Justine Willis Toms)
Reading at the Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver
I am a writer and spiritual counselor with a passion for changing the modern story of nature and helping people reconnect with the Living Source inside themselves and all of nature. I received a PhD in religious studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and have taught graduate-level environmental humanities, feminist studies, critical thinking, and thesis writing at Prescott College in Prescott, AZ, and Naropa University in Boulder, CO.
Nature advocacy started for me years ago in Oakland, where I founded a small nonprofit land trust to preserve a nearby creek. In various places around the American West, I cleaned and restored urban creeks, fed baby birds in wildlife rehab, and cofounded a local rights-of-nature group.
My first book, Kissed by a Fox: And Other Stories of Friendship in Nature (Counterpoint, 2012), won the WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction. Tamed by a Bear: Coming Home to Nature-Spirit-Self (Counterpoint Press, 2017) is a spiritual memoir of the first year of listening to Spirit’s voice through shamanic-style journeys.
My partner, Tim, and I live on Maui, where we are learning to know the life in the sea.
I am delighted to make a virtual visit to your book group if you are reading Kissed by a Fox or Tamed by a Bear. Please CONTACT PRISCILLA if you are interested.