“Altitude Adjustment gives honest, inspiring testimony to the inexorable power of the human will when seized by a grand dream. We cannot help but root for Mary Beth Baptiste as she risks all to live more freely and meaningfully. With her combined skills as both poet and naturalist, she brings every character she encounters on her journey-whether surly moose cow, grizzly bear, or surly, grizzled ranger-to exuberant life.”
To “risk all” in this case meant leaving a comfortable if boring marriage and life among extended family in Massachusetts,a life everyone else around Mary Beth accepted without question, to pursue her dream of becoming a wildlife biologist at Grand Teton National Park.
I was impressed by Baptiste’s considerable descriptive powers. Take, for instance, New Year’s eve among her Teton Park friends: “We’re one ragtag group, standing in our skis by the Chapel of the Transfiguration, taking turns pulling on the bell rope. As we count to ninety-five, cold-metal clangs jar the snow-muffled night. All that’s visible lies in the thin columns of light from our headlamps; they tangle through the darkness in complex webs, illuminating falling medallions of snow and shafts of body parts. There’s a black ponytail polka-dotted with snowflakes, blue parka arms holding the rope, a glint off someone’s glasses.”
You can advance order this book now. Read it for the writing or for the inspiration. But regardless of why you read it, beware: you will feel the stirrings of your own dreams, and they will be hard to ignore.