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Grasshopper Dreaming

Reflections on Killing and Loving

Jeffrey Lockwood

"Taking life—like giving life—can be a sacred act. A friend of mine who is an herbalist believes that one must harvest medicinal plants with thankfulness, understanding, and humility to access the full potential of the resulting extract. Indigenous peoples asked permission or forgiveness of the animals they hunted, and perhaps modern agriculture should act with such humility and grace when killing is necessary. Following the lead of native people, agriculturalists would do well to understand that the land is shared with other creatures and that their needs are worthy of our understanding."
—from Grasshopper Dreaming

Grasshopper Dreaming chronicles entomologist Jeffrey Lockwood's struggle to reconcile the competing perspectives of religion and science. This series of essays, some painful, others funny, and all invariably complex, gives readers a provocative glimpse at the moral and spiritual conflicts in a scientist's life as a "hired assassin for agriculture." Jeffrey Lockwood has been awarded a 2002 Pushcart Prize for the essay "To Be Honest" and a 2003 John Burroughs Award.

Praise for Grasshopper Dreaming:

"Jeff Lockwood examines the human place in the web of life, the meaning of community, and the need for compassion in our dealings with our fellow creatures. Science, Lockwood tells us, has provided many tools for learning about life but has rarely considered what we might learn from life."
—David Romtvedt, author, Windmill: Essays from Four Mile Ranch

"Thoughtfully, often eloquently, Lockwood makes the case that science lacks humility and compassion as well as the ability to pose ultimate questions concerning the cohabitation of the earth by millions of organisms equally deserving of our respect. Good science, he says, need not preclude intuition or transcendent understanding. Science has taught him much about grasshoppers; religion has taught him to listen to them."
—Howard E. Evans, author, Life on a Little Known Planet

"There is a famous line from a reviewer of a John McPhee book: 'I can't believe I read an entire book about oranges.' The same could be said about Jeff Lockwood's Grasshopper Dreaming… but like McPhee's book, the treatment transcends the subject. Dreaming is as much a voyage of self-discovery as it is an odyssey of discovery about the hidden life of a most familiar insect. In luminous prose, Lockwood peels away the mystery of grasshopper life and digs pretty deeply into the lives of human beings at the same time."
—Joel Vance, author, Down Home Missouri: When Girls Were Scary and Basketball Was King

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Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

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