This collection takes its title from the introductory essay, in which the author describes the house where he and his wife, Hilary, have lived for more than thirty years, near a parkland corridor running for several miles on the western edge of Minneapolis. The essays that follow describe day-to-day events at home—the seasons, the sky, the garden, the passing deer, the trees, the birds, and the sounds of the night—and forays into town to farmers' markets, galleries, parks, and cafés. A few depict ventures farther afield to the bluff country or the north woods. Books also figure prominently in a few pieces, as do social events and the preparing and eating of food—especially vegetables. It's just one more way of letting the outside in.
John Toren has been involved in many aspects of the publishing world in the course of his career. His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in a variety of regional and national publications, including the History Channel Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, Rain Taxi, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He has received an Utne Independent Press Award for general excellence and two book-design awards from the Midwest Independent Publisher's Association. He is the author of the popular The Seven States of Minnesota, now in its third printing, and five other books. He teaches classes regularly about geography and jazz in the University of Minnesota's Osher Lifetime Learning program. He and his wife, Hilary, live in Golden Valley, Minnesota.