Standing in the Light by Sharman Apt Russell is a true blend of the writer’s experiences of nature and spiritual growth. Russell described her life as being a Pantheist, a word coined by John Toland in the 1700s. In beautiful prose she captured the joys of nature especially with bird watching and banding. In the text the writer reviewed the tenets of Eastern religions that she learned from books, companions, and during her travels as a younger woman in Asian countries.
Interestingly she puts into context the lives and experiences of Pantheists like Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Giordano Bruno, Baruch Spinoza, Henry David Thoreau, D. H. Lawrence, Walt Whitman, and founder of the World Pantheist Movement Paul Harrison. Russell explained while being a Pantheist how she continued an on-and-off basis to have ties with Quakers. She wrote glowingly about her husband and family’s love for nature, work as a creative writing professor, philosophy, and religious life. Russell lived in Silver City, and she and her friends were involved in conservation efforts in New Mexico.