Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Notes from Turtle Creek (5). Ted Browning.

The Kennett Paper. Chads 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 Quotes and Ideas:

Browning ironically “…reported that Interior Secretary Donald Hodel (1987) had recommended that the solution to the problems of harmful radiation should be solved not by scientific studies and international treaties, but by a greater use of hats, sunglasses and tanning lotions. Fish and tiny creatures in the food chain have a rather difficult time finding sunglasses that fit or tanning lotion that won’t wash off.” p. 69.

Chief Stealth: “Man did not weave the web of life./ He is merely one strand in it./ Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” p. 70.

“…an Indian hammerstone…used in grinding corn and acorns into flour for the flat, tough Indian bread called bannock.” p. 74.

“A chill of understanding flashed through me that I feel to this day. The last person to hold that stone in the same way….had been an Indian, a native American grinding corn at Meadow springs.” p.74.

"It was as if I had reached back in time to touch the hand of the person who had held the stone….” p. 74.

“They say that of all senses the nose remembers best.” p. 76.

"Veils of moisture lift out of the ground, bearing the smells of wet earth and triggering old memories.” p. 76.

“Thirty feet upstream from me a deer and fawn materialized out of the brush to drink at the river….. Against the setting sun, they became black silhouettes, outlined in a penumbra of golden light….. The moment froze…..” p. 76.

“Riding on one of the outside horses on the carousel, the ground spinning faster and faster, the tinny organ music racing, people, buildings, trees in that other world out there would break apart, flying all over the place in a kaleidoscope of colors, sounds, images.” p. 76. [Browning is referring to the carousel at Lenape Park.]

“The roller coaster would click-clack its way to the top of that first big drop and as…your heart raced, suddenly the whole Lenape valley opened up before you, the river solidly in place way down there….” p. 76.

To be continued.

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