Fruits of Eden: Field Notes, Napa Valley 1991-2021

In Fruits of Eden, author Patricia Damery takes readers on a thirty-year journey, vividly recounting her citizen activism to protect the world-famous Napa Valley from the ravages of over-development, water plundering, government failures, greed and damaging tourism.

Damery’s articulate and Illustrative voice is a powerful call that interweaves the story of her ranch with her history, reflections, marriage and her husband’s onset of dementia. His Alzheimer’s began at the same time as pressure on the ranch’s sustainability became acute. Conversely, there is also great hope. The author’s relationships with colleagues in action for the valley, her children, her grandchildren and friends all share a deep love for this extraordinary place on the planet.

Over the decades Damery and her husband, Donald Harms, developed a way of life that respected the natural ecology of their land in the Napa Valley. They applied organic and biodynamic methods, left large parts in their natural state, and had a herd of goats that lived next to Patricia’s writing studio. Then climate change coupled with egregious overdevelopment overcame them, threatening to destroy their way of life. Destruction of native oaks caused erosion and groundwater depletion, insecticide use disrupted the balance of animal life, including beneficial insects, population density and tourism brought air pollution and congestion, and finally global warming brought repeated fires, a risk that continues today.


“This is so refreshingly far from the usual Napa Valley memoir as to constitute a new genre. Instead of self-celebration so common, it’s at once a full autobiography, a paean to the natural world, and a vivid lesson in the challenges and rewards of working the land oneself. In the course of unwrapping her personal history, the author lays out her considerable involvement in the efforts of environmentalists in Napa to slow down the ravages of development of one of the most famous and threatened valleys on Earth.”—James Conaway, author of Napa at Last Light

“Napa is a special place, for its beauty, and for the care some of its residents take in protecting it even in these dire decades of climate chaos. That shines through in these pages.”

     —Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

“The way you describe your relationship to your beloved home is so moving. I know there are many like you who honor and steward their land. Then, I wonder about those who move here and see it as landscaping, but never come to know it intimately.” —Joelle Gallagher

“Fruits of Eden is a beautifully written love story by Patricia Damery. Like all good love stories, disparate strands are gracefully intertwined, creating a powerful and compelling whole. Patricia’s own history and that of her marriage are interwoven with her dedication to the preservation of Mother Earth in the face of thoughtless exploitation resulting from greed and corruption.  Seamlessly, she weaves the ever-present and underlying archetypal world with the here and now of the life cycle on this earth, including the life of her remarkable husband, and the unfolding of the lives of children and grandchildren. Throughout the book shines Patricia’s capacity for depth reflection on all she is discussing, including her application of the ever-relevant insights of Carl Jung. Enticing the reader to turn page after page, surely this book itself is one of the fruits of Eden.” —Karlyn Ward, Ph.D.


“As a personal long-time friend to Patricia, I have always been amazed by her open heart, her open eyes, her intense willingness to put to word to what so many can barely conceptualize or articulate. She gives wings to our wounded hearts and overwhelming feelings of helplessness in the face of the mass destruction of our Home planet. Guiding us on a dream walk, Patricia inspires us towards collective action in accepting the sacred responsibility to reach to our highest collective potential as caregivers of Mother Earth.”     —Charlie Toledo, Executive Director, Suscol Intertribal Council

“An alchemical book, Fruits of Eden is the record of one soul’s deepening and complexifying through the mystery of committed relationships — with a wonderful husband whose memory is slowly slipping away, with an eloquent and sagacious tree, with the imagist magic of dreams, and with the exhilarating but difficult practice of democracy itself. And, underlying and sustaining all those ongoing relations, the book tracks the author’s soulful metamorphosis through her full-bodied and fiercely committed relationship with a powerful piece of land, a worthy place on the breathing earth.”   

 —David Abram, author of Becoming Animal and The Spell of the Sensuous


In this riveting book, activism in the world and contemplation of the sacred and profane, with its glimpses of wholeness and pain of fragmentation, go hand in hand. Fruits of Eden narrates the journey of an absolutely unique person in an absolutely singular place at a ripe time of Kairos that simultaneously becomes a microcosm of the whole world. This is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary human being.”     —Tom Singer, editor of Cultural Complexes and the Soul of America: Myth, Psyche, and Politics


Real history is both personal and political.  Sometimes we narrate only the story of a marriage or a home, other times we describe a sustained campaign to preserve the natural world.  Miraculously, Patricia Damery entwines both themes in her unblinking saga of the struggle over the fate of the Napa Valley, as well as the evolution of her marriage.  In this book, letters to the local paper jostle next to tales of birthing goats; face-offs with a corrupt Board of Supervisors share space with tender tracing of a devastating diagnosis.  The reader is treated to a front row view of the determination of some winegrowers to use water and land for profit, and an illuminating salute to those hardy souls who plant their feet in opposition.  The story does not end with the closing of the book.”     –Lauren Coodley, author of Lost Napa Valley

Eden hasn’t totally vanished. Damery’s sense of irony is instructive. The “pandemic and climate change have impacted the wine and hospitality industries far more profoundly than any of our political actions, humbling us all,” she writes. She adds, “Disease occurs when we fall away from wholeness. Healing is a process of being restored to wholeness.” Welcome advice any time of year.–Jonah Raskin, Sonoma County Gazette

Book Info

Genre/Keywords memoir, ecopsychology, activism. oak savanna, tourism

Length 257 pages


Dancing Raven Press, an imprint of Analytical Psychology Press

Bookstores: Order directly from Dancing Raven

Discount 55%. Returns accepted.

Release date August 20, 2022, paperback and hardback


ISBN-13 ISBN:978-1-958263-03-7; ISBN: 978-1-736194-5-39; ISBN: 978-1-958263-07-5



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