A Field Day with the Field Guide

Lesbian National Parks and Services Field Guide to North America: Flora, Fauna & Survival Skills (Pedlar Press, 2002)

cover lesbian parks service field guide

It looks like a field guide: strong stock, rounded corners, right shape and size to fit into the pocket of cargo pants. In it, Ranger Shawna Dempsey and Ranger Lorri Millan treat the reader to layered prose full of double entendre and designed to cultivate a respect for nature and safeguard lesbian presence. They drop names of famous lesbians like Charlene Nero and Clare Lawlor — they appear alongside other similarly named rangers to dispense advice.

Three morsels of their divine humour. On what to pack for snacks (p. 41).

Also pack snacks and water to maintain your energy level. Chocolate, dried fruits and nuts provide high caloric value and are easy to carry. Other foodstuffs, such as cucumbers, zucchini and Chinese eggplant often come in handy.

On naturalism veering into a sociological bent (p. 97).

Few among us can resist the roly-poly antics of romping Bear cubs, the startling grace of Prairie Antelope or the sullen pose of nocturnal Bar Rats.

On root systems and the analogy to lesbian networks (p. 224).

Junior Ranger Megan Richards has no trouble envisioning this underground support system. She knows that her emotional well-being depends upon a complex tangle of relationships, to girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-girlfriends’ girlfriends, ex-girlfriends’ ex-girlfriends and girlfriends’s ex-girlfriends (not to mention their pets). Together, these women nourish and anchor J.R. Richards and are the basis of an often unacknowledged chosen-family “tree”. Likewise, the root structure of a stately Live Oak or gnarled Pitch Pine, though unseen, is an integral and essential component of its being.

The best of the in-jokes is the dedication to Anne Murray, Canada’s Songbird.

And so for day 1421

July 27, 2006 Eye Weekly review

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