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By the time the pixelated image of Barry Lopez’s face appeared on my computer screen, I had not read a single word he had written. I knew nothing of his accomplishments, writing mastery, or desire to explore the world, observing viewpoints other than his own. I looked curiously at his 70-something face, his balding head with gray tufts of hair on the sides, and the book-filled room in which he sat, without knowing that his ideas surrounding exploration would come to shape my own, articulating inclinations I had already felt but could not put words to.

hiker walking on a dirt path on a desert mesa
Walking toward the horizon, the line that separates what the eye can see from what the mind might imagine.

Southern Utah University Professor Emeritus Jim Aton was going to be interviewing his friend Barry for the In Site Podcast. I was just there to record and make sure there were no issues with the overall sound. So, when the interview began, I turned off my video and just listened. Within the first few minutes, I was floored by this man’s brilliant and compassionate character. I knew right away I’d have to read everything he had ever written.

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