Tony's Reviews > Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook

Following the Water by David M. Carroll
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's review
Nov 09, 09

bookshelves: art, science-nature
Read in November, 2009

The pen and ink drawings in the book are as beautiful and life-like as anything I've seen. Snakes, frogs and lots of turtles, the real stars of the book. Following the Water deserves a place on your shelves for this reason alone.

I would have liked to have learned more about these beautiful creatures. I had hope when the author wrote about the apparent delicacy that is turtle legs to racoons, otters and other predators. However, there was precious little of that. Instead, the author tells us about himself looking for and at the scenery. For example, in just one page, the following insight on trees is offered:

Touching trees has always grounded me. Before I knew their names I knew them by their feel, by the colors and textures of their leaves and bark, the ground on which they stood....I touch them at each coming and going throughout the seasons....Some I touch day after day for weeks on end, others but once in several years. Some I have touched only once in decades; some I will never touch again because they have been taken away or because I cannot bear to go back to where they stand....I come back to tree bark and shadow, intervals of bird song and silence, the voice of the wind, the streamlet in the silent slipping by...back to a day in the swamp in boyhood when I had a sense in the present of a day in some deep past.

Want to know about turtle migration? There's this instead:

I come here during the spotted turtles' migrations, the season of so many returnings, to stand by this sentinel tree and watch the season for a while. When the turtle migrations end, I leave the pine to the rest of the year. Whenever I am here or in any of the places I am deeply drawn to, I feel a connectedness, a filling in of some profound, vague emptiness. I need to be empty of all distractions. I come to forget and to remember....I come also to know where to be....I come to meet the day, and the day comes to me.

This navel-contemplating crap goes on for the book's entirety.



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