The Art of Decay

9781888160161, 100 pgs
Order Direct | Read the Des Moines Register feature story |

Coming this April, 2017: In this collection of essays, poems, and drawings from his own personal journals, Bruce Hopkins reflects on the truth and beauty in nature, concentrating on how important it is to listen to the voices of nature, and to live our lives accordingly, from the moment of our arrival to the moment of our departure. With the relentless process of decay bringing not dying, but hope and renewal, and even familiarity. His keen observations about all forms of nature, and about people of all ages, vividly demonstrate his compassion and understanding of the universality and connectedness of our shared experiences to a common good that embraces learning, and leads us on a path to self awareness and acceptance. The wonder of children, the wisdom of elders, the stillness and sacredness of the forest, the joyfulness of splashing water, and honking geese, the inevitability of the changing seasons and tattered leaves, are all artfully brought together by Dr. Hopkins, to give us a sense of community and continuity, along with the endless possibilities that only perseverance and nature can adequately provide.

“Bruce Hopkin’s writing is a perfect combination of direct experience and personal reflection. His keen observation skills and description of the natural world allow the reader to feel his experience nearly first- hand. I’ve met very few people like Bruce. His passion and conviction is true and strong. He’s ‘all in.’”
—Dawn Snyder, Education Programs Director, Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center

“Bruce Hopkins’ words carry the voices of ancestors and grandchildren and the sound of prairie winds and rivers rushing over glacial rocks. Decay is part of that cycle of nature and, as he writes, it is not silent.”–Mike Kilen, Des Moines Register

“In The Art of Decay we find a welcome retreat into the natural world–stories of the woodlands, gentle creatures, and the timeless change of seasons. A beautiful book filled with inspiration and expressions of love.”–Gretchen Gondek, retired, public radio manager

“There is an intimacy in these pages we can all find our place in. Mysteries, solved in memories, carry us forward as we migrate through our lives.”—Mark Edwards, retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Trails Program

Dr. Bruce Hopkins is an educator, environmental writer, and historian. He and his wife, children’s book author Jeanette Hopkins, have four daughters, eleven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Dr. Hopkins’ previous books are When Foxes Wore Red Vests (2010) and Truth in the Rivers (2013). His poetry has appeared in poetry journals through out the United States. A keen observer of people and places, and above all of nature, he brings to the essays, poems, and drawings in this book his experiences as a lecturer, a naturalist, a friend, and the member of a close-knit family. Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, and currently a resident of Iowa where he serves on the Woodbury County Conservation Foundation Board, he is a longtime supporter of the National and State Park Systems. He and his family can often be found at Stone State Park’s Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center in Sioux City where his grandchildren have attended Nature Camp for years. One inspirational spot on this earth for Bruce is the John G. Neihardt Center in nearby Bancroft, Nebraska, where he believes the natural beauty of the hills and the Great Plains, together with its Native American spirituality, add richness and more meaning to his work.