The universe dropped this book into my lap the day after we visited and I became enchanted with Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. We were shopping at a fleThe universe dropped this book into my lap the day after we visited and I became enchanted with Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. We were shopping at a flea market and I happened to find an old National Geographic magazine from 2007 I had been looking for. The vendor told me I could pick out two more magazines or books for the 25 cents I was paying him for it. The first book my eyes saw as I glanced over the pile was Stirring the Mud and I thought, how wonderful, a book about swamps!
This book is amazing, exploring with such lyrical prose the physical and spiritual beauty and mystery of swamps. I had a powerful feeling of transcendence in Okefenokee, with no words to convey the experience I was having there. Barbara Hurd seems to know how to express thoughts and feelings about swamps that resonated with me deeply....more
Growing up in Connecticut, I never thought about hurricane threats until August of 1976 when I was newly married and mother of an eight-month-old babyGrowing up in Connecticut, I never thought about hurricane threats until August of 1976 when I was newly married and mother of an eight-month-old baby. Even though we lived 50 miles inland I remember listening to the weather report with great alarm, taping our windows and battening down the hatches, and waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Belle. She turned out to be a non-event.
Nine years later, in September of 1985, Hurricane Gloria arrived. By then we were living in a shoreline town, so we decided to evacuate inland to stay with my parents. On our way up we stopped to pick up my aunt who lived in a mobile home. Our children were bubbling over with excitement until my aunt reprimanded them saying, “You think this is funny? You have no idea what a dangerous thing a hurricane is!” She went on to describe the horror of living through the hurricane of 1938, when she was a young 24 year-old mother.
My father was 17 years-old, walking home from school, about 25 miles inland, when The Great Hurricane of 1938 struck Connecticut suddenly and with no warning. Hurricane Sandy and the destruction her storm surge caused to our city beach impressed me, living here a mile away from the water. But when we showed our pictures to my dad, who is now 90, he shrugged and said it was nothing compared to the devastation left by the 1938 storm.
That's when I decided to learn more about The Great Hurricane he and my aunt survived, and that is what led me to find this book. It was compelling and heartbreaking reading so many frightening stories told by some of the people who lived through it. I get it now – my aunt's reaction and my father's as well. I could scarcely put the book down until I was finished and am grateful to R. A. Scotti for helping me to get a much better picture of that horrific, sudden storm. Her writing certainly made that historic event come alive for me....more
This haunting book, set in Iceland, Greenland and Vinland, and on the sea that connects these lands, transports the reader a thousand years back throuThis haunting book, set in Iceland, Greenland and Vinland, and on the sea that connects these lands, transports the reader a thousand years back through time. Back to when ordinary people didn't read or write or have access to mirrors. When people improvised to build seaworthy ships. It's a spiritual journey, too. Near the end of her life, Gudrid made a pilgrimage to Rome, where a cardinal decided he wanted an account of her life, presumably because she converted to Christianity while living among Vikings who still worshiped the old Norse gods. An Icelandic priest, Agnar, was assigned to write down her riveting life story, exactly as she told it to him over three months of daily interviews. Gudrid reminisces about what she learned from the people she lived with, from the natural world and the sea, and how her own beliefs were formed along the way....more
“She might have found comfort in making the most of it, like her cats sharing the day's last sunlight, one small splash from the sea's horizon to the“She might have found comfort in making the most of it, like her cats sharing the day's last sunlight, one small splash from the sea's horizon to the edge of the carpet's shore.”
A House Near Luccoli is full of such lovely and lyrical prose which gently transports the reader to 17th century Genoa, Italy. Taking in the author's wonderful words, one can almost smell the gardens and sachets, taste the food and wine, feel the summer heat, see the musical notes being carefully transcribed, the sunshine glittering on the ocean, and hear the exquisite music. About a year ago we went to a concert, The Passion of the Italian Baroque, at the Amherst Early Music Festival, and heard beautiful performances with various combinations of the viol, violin, violone, recorder, flute, two oboes, cello, and three harpsichords. And a soprano sang along on a couple of pieces. Memories of the sound of that baroque music made reading the story of the colorful composer Alessandro Stradella and the restless Donatella all the more vivid in my mind....more
A playful collection of thoughts about the names of flowers found in England, paired beautifully with the author's delightful illustrations. My favoriA playful collection of thoughts about the names of flowers found in England, paired beautifully with the author's delightful illustrations. My favorite, floxglove:
I am inclined to believe fairies hang up their thimbles when a sunny day is as right for dreams as a day-lit night makes idle hands.
After seeing The White Lions program on PBS a friend mentioned this book to me. I find the story of the white lions of Timbavati compelling and apprecAfter seeing The White Lions program on PBS a friend mentioned this book to me. I find the story of the white lions of Timbavati compelling and appreciated the depth of the author's mystical journey as she discovered more and more about them, talking to scientists, historians, shamans and even a lion tamer. But I was hungry to hear more about her interactions with the white lions. The first encounter she described was riveting, but most of the book was a chronology of her research. Still, Tucker is doing amazing work with her White Lion Protection Trust, trying to save these rare animals from genetic inbreeding and the cruel practice of canned hunting. I feel I've been made aware of their plight and their special message for humankind....more
It's a pleasure to follow Annie Dillard's meandering thoughts and musings about both the ordinary things and the thrilling spectacles she has witnesseIt's a pleasure to follow Annie Dillard's meandering thoughts and musings about both the ordinary things and the thrilling spectacles she has witnessed in nature on her travels, near and far. She's a keen observer who makes me want to pay more attention to the details of each moment in my own environment. Her wondering about human psychology is fascinating, too. “The Deer at Providencia” was the hardest one to read, reminding me about how downright brutal nature, as well as people, can be. “A Field of Silence” resonated with me deeply....more
This book is a heartwarming true story about a very special pig, Christopher Hogwood, a wise old soul, a teacher to everyone in the community who meltThis book is a heartwarming true story about a very special pig, Christopher Hogwood, a wise old soul, a teacher to everyone in the community who melted under his spell. He was indeed an extraordinary, good good pig!...more