Earth Notes - Joseph Wood Krutch

Flagstaff, AZ – Earth Notes: Joseph Wood Krutch

He was a self-described "city man," yet author Joseph Wood Krutch spent the last two decades of his life absorbed in the natural world of the Southwest.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1893, Krutch built a career back East as book and drama critic, journalism professor, and essayist. From New England, he first ventured to the Colorado Plateau in the early 1940s. Over the next decade he toured Monument Valley, climbed Navajo Mountain, and got lost one day between Kayenta and Canyon de Chelly.

Krutch was smitten. With his wife Marcelle, he relocated to Tucson in 1952 and went on to make significant additions to his natural history r sum with the books The Desert Year, The Voice of the Desert, and Grand Canyon: Today and All Its Yesterdays.

From a rimside seat at Grand Canyon, Krutch wrote: "For the moment I was less interested in what the Canyon had been than in what it is at this moment and has been able to remain. It is not often that twentieth-century man has so much space to himself."

He was fond of taking his reader "window shopping" his term for strolls in the outdoors. But he remained erudite and philosophical, too. While examining our relationship with the natural world, he pondered the inevitable encroachment of civilization on unspoiled places.

He was troubled by those thoughts, but in the Southwest of a few decades ago Joseph Wood Krutch found lasting faith in the beauty and joy of the natural world.

-Rose Houk