Caught in Fading Light by Gary Thorp
Mountain Lions, Zen Masters, and Wild Nature

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Synopsis

A personal exploration of wildness, territory, and the elusive nature of our lives

In this concise, richly contemplative book, Gary Thorp records his singularquest to see a mountain lion, or cougar—the “cat of one color”— in the wild hills and mountains of northern California, where he lives. Using the traditional form of Japanese writing known as nikki bungaku (literary diary), Thorp recounts his meditations and adventures, from taking a one-day class on tracking animals, to visiting a mountain lion in the zoo, to his numerous forays into the hills during the day and night. The pursuit of one thing invariably leads him to discover many others: The tracks of a solitary mountain lion, for example, evoke a marvelous world of photographic imagery, literary events, dancing foxes, ocean voyages, and blind poets, all gathered together just beyond the limits of human vision. Thorp explores what it means to seek something you might not find and ponders the difference between seeing only darkness and being blind, offering as well bright glimpses into the Zen tradition. Combining an elusive and challenging pursuit with a centuries-old way of uncovering life’s ultimate answers, Caught in Fading Light will give readers a new way of seeing, and will captivate nature lovers and Zen practitioners alike.
 

About Gary Thorp

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Gary Thorp began studying Zen in 1960 and was later lay-ordained in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. A former bookseller and jazz pianist, he is a full-time writer, doing research in marine biology and the ecology of mountain lions. He lives with his wife, Lura, in Marin County.
 
Published January 1, 2002 by Walker & Company. 176 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Thorp, a student of Zen, discovers plenty of similarities between his search for the lion and his study of Zen, how the pursued are often unattainable, what the role of chance is in experience, how there can be a fabric of nothingness—since the lion may as well not exist for all his sightings (th...

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Thorp went to tracking school, rushed out on short notice when he heard of nearby sightings, honed his observational skills on whale-watching expeditions, gazed at a mountain lion (also known as the puma, cougar or hellcat) behind bars in the zoo, came across tracks alongside dusty roads, perched...

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