Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Notes from Turtle Creek (1). Ted Browning.

The Kennett Paper. Chadds Ford, PA: Brandywine Conservancy. 1991.

Why read it? I’m sure you have never heard of Ted Browning. He wrote essays on nature, specifically in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He urges that open space be distinguished for conservation of natural processes or modified for parks, playgrounds, green space. He died young. The editor of the paper in which Ted published his essays, said plaintively: “I wish he were here to put it in perspective for us. I wish he could…explain to us why the katydids are louder than usual, the shad bush blossoms more brazen, the fall colors more muted, the dogwoods duller.” p. xiii.

Sample Ideas and Quotes:

“He observed and interpreted nature for us, not as a scientist…but as one with a spiritual connection to nature on a par with the American Indians’ oneness with nature that Ted wrote about and admired so much.” D. Thomas, Editor, The Kennett Paper. p. xv.

“It was one of those familiar late-November days, gray as gun metal, cold and bleak….” p. 1.

“One of the greatest of the northern European solstice festivals was the celebration of Julmond on December 12. The word ‘Jul’ was transformed to ‘Yule”; it was derived from a Germanic word meaning ‘a turning wheel’ and evoked the sense of natural cycles—the ebb and flow of the seasons, the turning wheel of the sun.” p. 4.

“At Christmas I usually decorate a tree for the birds, garlanding a young hemlock just off the porch in strings of popcorn spotted with slices of apple and orange. I will never forget the spectacle one year of 12 male cardinals in that year’s Christmas tree, gleaming fiery red against the dark green Christmas tree in a snowy woodland landscape.” p. 7.

“If you looked real close, the huge flakes seemed like tiny parachutes.” p. 8.

Chester County snowscape is the landscape of the other seasons edited of its weedy summer detail, reduced to its basic patterns in field, forest, watercourse, hedgerow. Squint your eyes at the snowscape, these patterns are further reduced to arrangements of pure form, shape, line, light and shadow.” p. 8.

“I would lump snow lovers into five basic categories: skiers, nostalgics, naturalists, children and adults who are still children inside.” p. 8.

“In describing the kind of snow…I use the following categories: flour, sugar, corn, granola, mashed potatoes, soup and rock candy.” p. 9.

“A cold front from the west brought the temperature down and the slush turned to rock candy; snow flurries dusted the rock candy with fine confectionary sugar.” p. 10.

“Somebody once said that developers often name their developments after what has been destroyed by the development: Deerfield, Quail Hill, Darlington Woods.” p. 11.

“…worthy of entrance into that exclusive club referred to as ‘an old-fashioned winter.’ ” p. 19.

To be continued.

No comments:

Post a Comment