Thursday, September 17, 2009

Notes from Turtle Creek (7). 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:

“The rock ballast used to stabilize early sailing vessels was loaded with seeds, which sprang up along our road and rail banks when that rock was spread for highway and railway base.” p. 92.

“It may be absolute fact that the ancestor of the plant you are looking at [Queen Anne’s Lace] arrived here as a seed wadded up in the hoof of a squealing European pig brought over for bacon and ham hocks by our European forefathers.” p. 93.

Chief Stealth: “If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.” p. 94.

Autumn: “…doesn’t the sun seem a bit thin in the afternoon compared even to last week?” p. 100.

“Barn swallows and tree swallows line up on the telephone wires, getting ready to leave for Central and South America.” p. 100.

“By now cicadas have retreated down under the earth somewhere, but the evening chorus of crickets, katydids and grasshoppers reaches full crescendo.” p. 101.

“As summer winds down, butterflies become just as frantic as everyone else, flipping from flower to flower, loading up on nectar fuel for mating or migrating.” p. 101.

To be continued.

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