"Before electricity carved its blue path toward me, before the negative charge shot down from cloud to ground...before air expanded and contracted producing loud pressure pulses I could not hear because I was already dead, I had been walking." So opens Gretel Ehrlich's absorbing account of being struck by lightning. Only when she fell to the ground, her head and body hitting on rock, was she jolted back to consciousness, back to life. In this astonishing chronicle of her experience and of the physical, psychological, and spiritual consequences of the encounter, the author turns her acute naturalist's eye on herself and on the natural world of the body to understand exactly what happened when lightning struck her. Woven into the narrative of her recovery is an examination of the heart - medical, religious, and cultural: There is the path of healing that she traveled not only with the requisite cardiologist but, to quite amazing effect, with her dogs as well. And finally, there is water, and the ways in which, in its contemplation and its immersion, she learned how fire can be extinguished. A Match to the Heart is a stunning work of observation and synthesis: bringing together the most minute self-exploratory and an enlarging, illuminating vision of the world.
In 1991 the author of this lyrical narrative of resurrection was struck by lightning near her Wyoming ranch. The effects of this electrocution were long-lasting, requiring intensive medical attention for the physical and mental trauma that included sensory impairment. In her chronicle of two years of healing, naturalist Ehrlich ( The Solace of Open Spaces ) traces the abrupt changing of her life from ``before the negative charge shot down from cloud to ground.'' Her love for animals and the earth was a support, as was the care of an intuitive cardiologist and the friends and family who rallied around as her failing marriage finally ended. Ehrlich's inspirational self-discovery calls attention to other lightning survivors as, ``carved from a ruined body,'' she returns to the ranch with new life. (June)