Back to Earth is the powerful, personal journey of a man in his middle years who senses that he has drifted away from the ideals of his youth and who must now search for coherence, belief, and a renewed spirituality following the breakup of his marriage and family.
Living alone in a cabin in the woods, Temple searches his past and tells tales of experiences backpacking in Colorado, Dakota, New Mexico and Alaska. His reflections focus on the spiritual and redemptive qualities of nature, the American character, and the dilemmas of the split between matter and spirit, body and soul, God and creation. As an "earnest pilgrim with a short attention span", Temple's story chronicles his journey from an intimacy with the earth to an alienation from it, and the need of all humans to find a redemptive reunion.
The book is a kind of pilgrimage as the author tries to get back home, to find God, to learn what our species once knew, and to rediscover the heart and soul of creation.
Kerry Temple is editor of Notre Dame Magazine. His essays have appeared in Audobon and Backpaker magazine. He has been included in a volume of Best American Essays.