6 March 2016
I haven’t been able to get out much this winter. I’ve been working much longer hours at the bookshop. The weather conditions haven’t been conducive to walking. I had a really bad fall that left me slightly concussed on one evening walk in the dark.
I’ve really been missing the out-of-doors.
In the meantime, I found a great fix in this beautiful collection of shorts, originally written for various American outdoors magazines by Ted Williams. As I read it, I wondered if this man’s articles might have been one of the inspirations behind a book I published back in the 90s, Natural Acquaintances. I must ask the author next time I see him.
Wild Moments is divided into four sections: one for each of the four seasons. Each season contains about forty shorts, each focussed on a particular creature’s life at that time of year. Most of these shorts are really short – less than a page long – yet each is packed with tantalising information. The reader will want to get outside and check the nearest forest for signs in her own neighbourhood.
Not only did I learn things about insects, animals and plants that I can find here through the year, I was also able to armchair travel to other ecosystems around the continent to discover interesting wildlife there. I found myself making notes of what to look for if I ever visit the West Coast or the Rockies again…
The illustrations by John Burgoyne have an old-fashioned look, reminiscent of antique engravings of Audubon prints, or old botanicals. The detail, captured in pen and ink, lends to the sense that an old soul of the wilds put this book together.
If you know someone who has been languishing in an urban setting for too long, or a teen who is just starting to open his eyes to the natural world, this book would make an excellent gift.
As for me, I’ve started getting out again on the warmer days, and thanks to Mr. Williams, I’m just that much more aware of all the little things that are happening in the woods around me.