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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

June 2, 2011 at 11:00 AM

From the bookshelf: good reads to inspire new perspective

Some favorites of mine, to inspire and inform your next trip into the field:

bookshelf.JPGUnion Bay, The Life of a City Marsh by Harry Higman and Earl Larrison, and illustrated by Edmund Sawyer. Published by University of Washington Press in 1951. Buy this book if you are ever lucky enough to encounter it at a used book store. If you have doubts that you can find “real nature” in the city, or that you can wring much of a narrative from one location, savor this classic. In 25 chapters and more than 300 pages, the authors never fail to delight in their detailed natural history of Seattle’s Union Bay Natural Area.

A former city dump now turned bird watcher’s haven, this place has its bard in Higman and Larrison, and we can all learn from them the pleasure of observing just one place richly, closely, and over time.

And for a completely different way to think about the natural world, try the delightful The View from the Oak, The Private Worlds of Other Creatures by Judith and Herbert Kohl. First published by the New Press in 1977, this slim volume doesn’t fill 100 pages, but won the National Book Award, and with good reason. Written from the perspective of other animals, it stretches the imagination and invites new ways to think about and observe the natural world.

Photo by Lynda Mapes

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