Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Phil Condon

Commitee Members

Amy Ratto-Parks, Craig Childs


bison, Detachment, natural world, scars, wildness, wounds


University of Montana


This thesis is a collection of narrative non-fiction essays – some of them more journalistic in nature and others more memoir-ish or ruminating. Readers are asked to travel through my recent years, as I ramble and certain key themes are explored. Those themes are as follows: First, detachment from the natural world and the alienation that stems from it, whether in terms of geography or industry; second, wildness as an energy that humans, sometimes inadvertently, seek to suppress or control, and wildness in the form of nature’s scars and wounds (the two being mirror images of one another). The avatars of wildness in these stories come in various incarnations, i.e. bugs and bison, clear-cuts and chemical spills, and brief but edifying periods of intense psychological turmoil. These things can be found in the border country, the no man’s land between nature and humanity. The places where we find wildness are the places of death and depravity and deterioration, where humans are winning their war against the natural world or nature is retaliating in turn.

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© Copyright 2008 Nathaniel Ian Miller