Rock Me on the Water


A Labor of Love

Picking up where its predecessor—the bestselling On the Loose —left off, this reflection revisits the physical and spiritual terrain that shaped two brothers’ lives. Consumed by a passion to fully experience the western wilderness and to navigate untamed—and unpredictable—waterways, Terry and Renny Russell set out to travel down the Green River in Utah. Several miles into the journey, their raft doubles over. Terry perishes, and after washing up on the beach, Renny embarks upon what is to become a nearly four-decade-long odyssey to understand how he came to be the sole survivor and how to fully connect with his brother’s spirit. Interweaving the past and present, this vibrantly illustrated meditation documents the metamorphosis of Renny’s psyche, the natural environment that has sustained him, and ultimately his redemption.

"Renny Russell’s Rock Me on the Water is at its heart courageous. To return to the same power of nature that took his brother thirty years previous—to be with it, to confront it, to take solace in it, and to be inspired and healed by it—is remarkable in itself. His book is, as well, a testament to the evocative rhythms of the wilds. In this complicated dance, this profoundly personal journey, Renny Russell also gives us an amazingly spirited tour of one of the truly great landscapes of the American West and a keen understanding of its power to shape a life."
—Robert Redford

"Finally, we have the gift of Renny Russell's raw, honest voice once again, after On the Loose shaped and influenced an entire generation. This poignant memoir fills in the gaps, opens our eyes to grief and love and the profound healing nature of wild country."
—Terry Tempest Williams, author, The Open Space of Democracy and Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place