Permanent Publications, 2018 ISBN: 978-1856233217 Reviewed by Hilary Norton ____________________________________________________________ [...]
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2018 ISBN 978-1544741123 Reviewed [...]
This book is a collection of the columns which the author has contributed over the last twenty years to the BBC Wildlife Magazine. The articles cover a wide range of subjects, including birds, animals, plants, water, the seasons, writers about nature, depictions of Nature in art, sculpture in the wild, Nature in the city, ecology and the future, plus a few columns from abroad.
‘The Triumph of Seeds: How grains, nuts, kernels, pulses and pips conquered Nature and shaped human history’ by Thor Hanson
Just as William Blake talked about seeing the world in a grain of sand, Thor Hanson is able to see the whole world in a seed. And through his writing, he opens that world to us. From the tiniest, almost invisible seed of an epiphytic orchid to the forty-pound coco de mer, seeds come in all shapes and sizes and colours and employ an amazing diversity of methods for dispersing themselves and finding their way to somewhere they can germinate and grow. On that search and that settlement of seed into soil, now rests the whole of life on land—our own human lives included.
‘Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive’ by Carolyn Baker
Carolyn Baker is one of a growing band of writers who are facing up to the seriousness and scale of the ecological and economic collapse our planet is currently facing and 'telling it like it is.' The sort of world that humans might build out of the ruins of the old one will depend hugely, if not entirely, on our relationships. This includes our relationships with loved ones, with our neighbours and friends, with our children and our elders, ourselves, our bodies, our fellow creatures, the rest of Nature, and the Earth itself.
SACRED SEED: A Collection of Essays. Compiled and edited by the Global Peace Initiative of Women with an introduction by Vandana Shiva
This is a collection of essays dedicated, as the front matter tells us, …to all those working to preserve and care for the Earth and Her life systems…the most dangerous war humankind is engaged in is the war against nature. Until we can learn to live peacefully with Nature we will not live peacefully with one another. The seed is frequently referred to in belief systems because it provides such a powerful metaphor for the hidden depths within natural systems that are essential to our existence on this planet, both physically and spiritually; the spiritual and the practical are brought together seamlessly in the essays in this book.
With her whole-hearted commitment to celebrating the Earth and its cycles, Glennie Kindred delves into the living tradition of our Celtic ancestors and arrives at a magnificent collection of sacred ceremonies based on the eight Celtic festivals: the Summer and Winter Solstices, the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, the four cross-quarter points of Imbolc, Beltain, Lammas and Samhain. However, the celebrations in the collection are not in any way fixed or immutable; for her …they help us to discover more about ourselves and our intrinsic connection to Earth. Glennie believes we are free to celebrate the festivals in whatever way we choose, and her book is packed with suggested ways to do just this.
‘Climb up to the Moor: Moorland Life through the Seasons of the Year.’ Words and pictures by Judith Bromley with selected paintings by Robert Nicholls
This book about the moorland of the North Yorkshire National Park is a feast for the senses. Everyone reading it will certainly want to experience the moorland as Judith has. She walks there in every season: observing, watching, writing and painting. Each month she describes the impact on all of her senses of what is above her head, below her feet and within her field of vision. By itself the language that she uses paints glorious pictures in our minds, but the written words are accompanied by stunning paintings of the places she describes.
Our Western culture does have a few standard rituals for marking significant events in our lives but we all experience other events and other special moments and decisions for which no prescribed form of ritual exists. Yet we are often dimply aware of the impulse to mark these moments in some meaningful, symbolic way, particularly when they concern something as emotionally laden as procreation.
What I like most about this book is that it genuinely celebrates the late afternoon and evening of our lives. Most biographies draw the human life as though it were a hump - starting small, growing towards the prime, and then downhill all the way, leading to death often in depression and failed faculties.