I often explore outside of city limits, being immersed in diverse natural settings along the coast or cascade mountain ranges. I am inspired when finding the remains of tree forms – whether I come across a tree clearing, and slash and burn pile, or an abandoned structure, these forms and environments exist because of the alterations made by our human kind. I understand it is my responsibility to convey and preserve a wooden object’s character, ecological history, and the relationship between the natural world and man’s adaptation of it, including my own.
Miller wrote Heart of the Forest after four artist residencies at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in the Cascade Range. The artist residencies are part of the Spring Creek Project’s Long-Term Ecological Reflections program, which invites writers and artists to interact with environmental scientists, explore the forest, and write or create art. The program, in its twelfth year, is designed to collect reflections on the forest for the next two hundred years.
(Professor, English, University of Oregon) visited the forest September 1-5, 2008, to work on an essay entitled "The Oxymoron of American Pastoralism" which examines how the concept of "American Pastoralism" has been defined by major scholars of American history and literature, in light of the fact that no Native peoples in North America relied on a pastoralist, or herding subsistence. The work draws upon the writings of natural historians, anthropologists, and literary figures from Thoreau and Adam Smith to Jared Diamond.