Spirits in the Leaves
by Jerry Johnston
Paperback / 80 pages / 1-56085-053-1 / $9.95
“I am not a pious man,” admits Jerry Johnston. In true stories about his life and friends—including a few graveyard-carousing teenagers; an eccentric gardener; a fastidious wife; and a colorful, octogenarian nursing-home resident—Johnston ably mixes comedy, suspense, and pathos in equal measure.
In subtle ways, he unravels the spiritual dimension that he also finds undeniable in life. When poet-colleague William Stafford whispers his name into a tree in ancient Celtic fashion; or on discovering a 3,500 year-old, grafitti-covered juniper in Logan Canyon, Johnston is reminded of how fragile our constructs of reality are and how easily rationalist confidence is shattered, especially when confronted with “the soul”—that illusive something that approximates is perceived by an intangible second sense.
Jerry Johnston is a columnist, critic, and feature writer for the Deseret News. He has won awards from the Associated Press, Reader’s Digest, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Utah Arts Council, and has contributed to Egg Literary Quarterly (California), Ellipsis (Utah), Kodansha Views (Japan), Plainsongs (Nebraska), Puerto del Sol (New Mexico), and other publications. He is also the author of Dads and Other Heroes.