Monday, September 21, 2009

Notes from Turtle Creek. Concluded. 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 Quotes and Ideas:

“The ruby-throated hummingbird weighs 1/8th of an ounce, but flies 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, a flight of 25 hours, wings beating 50 miles per second.” p. 113.

“We have to ask—do the numbers convey the wonder of it all, the sheer impossibility of what the birds accomplish in migration?” p. 113.

“Watching them [the Amish workers] swarm over the barn like a hive of bees, I quickly understood that I was not seeing nine individuals at work but one organism, one collective will.” p. 115.

“When I had come back nothing much was different at Turtle Creek, but I had changed.” p. 120.

“…blockbuster, hawk-lifting cold fronts, warm buttery October days, midnight cannonball thunderstorms.” p. 126.

“Spring rain…frolics the landscape; fall rain is gray…settles the land for winter.” p. 127.

“The native Americans perceived of the great spirit as a kind of cosmic connective tissue stretching through all creation, binding all parts into a fabric of spiritual harmony.” p. 129.

Chief Stealth, a native American philosopher of the Duwanish Tribe in Washington State said this: “…every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every…humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people” p. 130.

Wendell Berry: “We go to the wilderness to be restored….” p. 135.

Comment: Notes from Turtle Creek by Ted Browning is a book that I read every year to renew my enjoyment of the world around us. Buy it! RayS.

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