This book has been one of my bedside books for a very long time and, after a concerted effort to read the last chapters, it can now be shelved. Not put away, just shelved, because this is a book to read again, and again. Now I’ve read to the end I know it why it’s a book to take slowly, regular doses, repeats and, definitely a book to select from and reflect on.
So what is it about? On one level it’s a journal, a record of what is found in nature by walking out of a front door, and by waiting by day and by night for creatures to join you. Or by sometimes going to join the creatures. And all that waiting is filled, as waiting has to be, with musings on botany, zoology, philosophy, geography, astronomy, a dash of spirituality here, a dash of politics there.
That combination creates the other level, that of deep thinking about nature, connectedness, the value of stillness, and much more. I especially enjoyed the chapter on fecundity and the successful watch for muskrats … and the idea throughout of the writer/recorder as stalker.
I needed to take Dillard’s wanderings and thoughtful meanderings at pedestrian pace … to consider her ideas slowly, to allow myself to sometimes leave her writing for a while and to seek other words. You could say that it’s a book for the tortoise in me, and hopefully, also you.