This WordPress site is an online home for my book Waterways: Imagining a Human Place in Nature.
Waterways is a non-fiction book that draws on science, philosophy, history and personal experience to examine where we stand in relation to nature, and how we might think differently about this relationship. It is illustrated with close to 60 of my photographs of where the natural and the humanly constructed meet.
The book alternates between chapters that include, or are entirely made up of, personal experience, and chapters of a more theoretical, conceptual nature. The experiential chapters are my explorations of boundary zones, within biking distance of where I live, where water flows through interstices in the humanly constructed environment. The more conceptual chapters develop an argument about how we think about our relationship with nature: they discuss the history of water in the American West, contemporary systems biology on the nature of life, “autopoiesis” and how human awareness emerges from our biology, ecological theory, insights into human cognition from recent neuroscience. The book ends with thoughts on how to apply the insights I’ve developed in everyday life.
The chapters are listed in the sidebar to the right, in order.
All photographs are by the author.
I have also included a shorter piece titled “Walks on the Boundary Line,” which is essentially the experiential chapters turned into a stand-alone essay.
For those who are interested, my site called The Water Margin is a companion to this one. It contains a chronicle of the research that became Waterways, along with many “Findings,” in text and photographs. The chapters of Waterways about local nature were drawn from these “Findings,” which are much more extensive and not all local.
Waterways: Imagining a human place in nature by Lowry Pei is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.