This is a collection of poems and essays by Mary Oliver centered on birds. Owls, gulls, the crow and the catbird, the hawk, herons, thrushes, flickers...moreThis is a collection of poems and essays by Mary Oliver centered on birds. Owls, gulls, the crow and the catbird, the hawk, herons, thrushes, flickers, and starlings and more make their feathery appearances here.
I love how Oliver takes small, simple observations of her surroundings and transforms them to something profound. The hawk becomes the knife, the marsh grasses are the wings of the herons who died there, and the geese teach us about having a place in "the family of life."
The essay "Bird" was so touching, I cried. It brought up for me the feelings of grief in recently losing favorite pet chickens to a fat raccoon. As a person who works for CT Audubon, as a human who keeps chickens and ducks as pets, and as a watcher and walker in this world, these bird poems could not have been a more perfect read, curled into an armchair beneath blankets on a snowy, winter's night.
Read them slowly, spend some time with each one, and reread as you go. Her poems are rich, yet minimal, and worth every moment reading.(less)
I thought this book was a wonderful introduction to systems thinking. Also, this book is not a difficult read. Terms are explained, and plenty of exam...moreI thought this book was a wonderful introduction to systems thinking. Also, this book is not a difficult read. Terms are explained, and plenty of examples are given. So, even if you do not understand everything that follows, you CAN learn from this book.
Resilience thinking is characterized by a few key terms: diversity, thresholds, adaptive cycles, ecological variability, and modularity.
"Resilient social-ecological systems have the capacity to change as the world changes while still maintaining their functionality." (p. 12)
Resilience thinking remembers that we are of nature, and are not separate or outside of the system. Biodiversity, redundancy, ecological variability, and modularity of a natural system enhances the overall resilience of the system - it is less likely to fail when met with a disturbance.
What does this all mean? An oversimplified example: a fast moving waterway is able to push toxins, nitrogen, and phosphorus downstream from agricultural run-off. The waterway is the system in this case, and it is affected by the farmer (who is also part of the system). If the waterway is dammed for irrigation purposes, the resilience of the waterway is limited and eutrophication (phosphorous build-up leading to algae growth leading to less oxygen leading to less fish leading to less food for birds and other animals) can occur. It has crossed a "threshold" into a less desirable state when a new equilibrium is reached. The book goes on to describe "basins of attraction" and the equilibrium of a new "regime".
(It is easier for a system to cross a threshold into an undesirable state of being when diversity is decreased and ecological variability is limited.)
BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE.
I would recommend this book to 1.) anyone looking to keep the world we inhabit livable for future generations; 2.) anyone looking to live in balance with the natural world we are a part of; and 3.) anyone going into the sciences or land management.(less)