In a seemingly ordinary field on Sharon Butala's land in southwest Saskatchewan lie the secrets of the past. When she and her husband, Peter, decided to let the field return to its natural state, the wonders of the prairie landscape began to reveal themselves to her. Over a twenty-year period, as she walked this field, she tried to understand what lessons could be learned from its mysterious markings, its wildlife, grasses and plants, its massive rocks and boulders deposited there as the glaciers retreated. The field became a tabula rasa on which she could project her own dreams and imaginings about the landscape that has informed her writing and inspired her life.
Wild Stone Heart is the brilliant companion volume to The Perfection of the morning, a resonant and deeply moving exploration of both past and present. Butala travels back in time as she wanders the field; from the dinosaur period and the Ice Age, to the more recent life of the Amerindians and the arrival of the settlers. Her keen intelligence ranges over prehistory, natural history, Amerindian custom, the farming and ranching ways of life, and the politics of the West today. We discover with her the animals and plants that live in the field, the mysterious stone remnants of the nomadic way of life, the ghosts and visions that come to her in her wanderings. Wild Stone Heart is also filled with touches of Butala's wry humour as she watches Nikon-laden tourists pouring into the tiny town of Eastend in the wake of the discovery of a T-Rex skeleton. It captures brilliantly the collision of past and present and one woman's search for her own place in the world.