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The Sweet Pursuit

Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive


A Story of Finding Rapture on Earth

 by Julie Hanus


Tags: Julie Hanus, spirituality and faith, memoir, environment, religion, the rapture, Brenda Peterson, Da Capo, seal pups, Salish Sea,

I Want To Be Left Behind by Brenda PetersonI’m a little behind here, so forgive me, but I’ve been meaning to give a shout to Brenda Peterson’s new memoir I Want To Be Left Behind, which Da Capo published in February. Peterson grew up in a cabin in the mountains, with a forest ranger father and Southern Baptist relatives. She writes—beautifully—about the intersections and contradictions of religious and environmental zeal.

You can get a little taste of her writing on our website. Two years ago, we had the good fortune of reprinting one of her essays, also called “I Want To Be Left Behind,” which is now the prologue of her memoir. In the essay, Peterson recounts watching over a seal pup, potentially stranded on the beach of Seattle’s Salish Sea, in the company of her gently proselytizing neighbor.