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WV Book Team: A pioneer at Rocky Mountain National Park chronicles her experience

Cassandra Kircher was in her twenties when she was hired by the National Park Service, landing a life that allowed her to reinvent herself. For four years she collected entrance fees and worked in the dispatch office before being assigned as the first woman to patrol an isolated backcountry district of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

There, Kircher encountered wonder and beauty, accidents and death. Although she always suspected the mountains might captivate her, she didn’t realize that her adopted landscape would give her strength to confront where she was from — both the Midwest that Willa Cather fans will recognize, and a childhood filled with problems and secrets.

Divided and defined by geographic and psychological space, “Far Flung” begins in the Rockies but broadens its focus as Kircher negotiates places as distant as Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Russia’s Siberian valleys, and Wisconsin’s lake country, always with Colorado as a heartfelt pivot. Elena Passarello, author of “Animals Strike Curious Poses,” can “easily imagine Kircher’s book shelved alongside contemporary place-based work by Ana Maria Spagna, Blair Braverman, and Cheryl Strayed.”

Foreword Reviews deems it a collection of “intimate and moving essays on nature, family, and adventures in the wild,” while Kristen Iversen, author of “Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats,” notes that Kircher “writes of family, landscape, and the deep and sometimes mystical ways in which we are bound to the land and bound to each other.”

These thirteen essays depict a woman coming to terms with her adoration for the wilds of the West and will resonate with all of us longing to better understand ourselves and our relationships to the places and people we love most.

Funerals Today, Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Armstead, David - Noon, Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.

Crawford, Charles - 7:30 p.m., Andrews' residence, Belleaire at Devonshire, Scott Depot.

Duff, Catherine Ann - 11 a.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Jarrett, Shirley - 1 p.m., Mt. Juliet United Methodist Church, Belle.

Lawrentz, Deo Mansfried - 11 a.m., Koontz Cemetery, Clendenin.

McGraw, Judy Fay - 2 p.m., Jodie Missionary Baptist Church, Jodie.

Mullins, Alice Ellen (Blessing) - Noon, Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Staats, Anthony Vernon “Tony” - 1 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.