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Earth's Wild Music: Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World

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At once joyous and somber, this thoughtful gathering of new and selected essays spans Kathleen Dean Moore's distinguished career as a tireless advocate for environmental activism in the face of climate change. In her newest collection, Moore selects essays that celebrate the music of the natural world as a reminder of what can be taken from us—the yowl of wolves, tick of At once joyous and somber, this thoughtful gathering of new and selected essays spans Kathleen Dean Moore's distinguished career as a tireless advocate for environmental activism in the face of climate change. In her newest collection, Moore selects essays that celebrate the music of the natural world as a reminder of what can be taken from us—the yowl of wolves, tick of barnacles, laughter of children, shriek of falling mountains. Alongside these selections are brand new essays born from the sorrow and iniquity of this new age of extinction, all bearing witness to the glories of this world and the sins against it. Each group of essays moves, as Moore herself has been moved, from celebration to lamentation to bewilderment to the determination to act. In Earth's Wild Music, Moore reminds us that whatever is left of the planet after its pillaging is the world in which those who remain must live. Whatever genetic song-lines, whatever fragments of whale-squeal and shattered harmonies are left, that's what evolution will have to work with. Music is the shivering urgency and exuberance of life on-going. In a time of terrible silencing, Moore asks, who will forgive us if we do not save the songs?


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At once joyous and somber, this thoughtful gathering of new and selected essays spans Kathleen Dean Moore's distinguished career as a tireless advocate for environmental activism in the face of climate change. In her newest collection, Moore selects essays that celebrate the music of the natural world as a reminder of what can be taken from us—the yowl of wolves, tick of At once joyous and somber, this thoughtful gathering of new and selected essays spans Kathleen Dean Moore's distinguished career as a tireless advocate for environmental activism in the face of climate change. In her newest collection, Moore selects essays that celebrate the music of the natural world as a reminder of what can be taken from us—the yowl of wolves, tick of barnacles, laughter of children, shriek of falling mountains. Alongside these selections are brand new essays born from the sorrow and iniquity of this new age of extinction, all bearing witness to the glories of this world and the sins against it. Each group of essays moves, as Moore herself has been moved, from celebration to lamentation to bewilderment to the determination to act. In Earth's Wild Music, Moore reminds us that whatever is left of the planet after its pillaging is the world in which those who remain must live. Whatever genetic song-lines, whatever fragments of whale-squeal and shattered harmonies are left, that's what evolution will have to work with. Music is the shivering urgency and exuberance of life on-going. In a time of terrible silencing, Moore asks, who will forgive us if we do not save the songs?

30 review for Earth's Wild Music: Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Except during the lockdown to slow the COVID-19 virus, cities drown us in sound. Buses grind gears, trucks beep, and street-corner preachers call down damnation on it all—what does this do to the human being, whose ears evolved as a warning system? In daylight, our eyes can warn us of danger in front of us. But our ears alert us to opportunity and danger twenty-four hours a day, from every direction, even through dense vegetation and total darkness. When predators are on the prowl, birds and Except during the lockdown to slow the COVID-19 virus, cities drown us in sound. Buses grind gears, trucks beep, and street-corner preachers call down damnation on it all—what does this do to the human being, whose ears evolved as a warning system? In daylight, our eyes can warn us of danger in front of us. But our ears alert us to opportunity and danger twenty-four hours a day, from every direction, even through dense vegetation and total darkness. When predators are on the prowl, birds and frogs, even insects, fall silent. No wonder humans are drawn to places where the birds feel safe enough to sing. It’s quiet, too quiet. And it’s getting quieter. There is a soundscape, a world of vibrations, wherever we are. I started reading this collection in a laundromat, pen and notebook at the ready. The wall-mounted TV blares The Goldbergs, an upgrade from the unspeakable Judge Judy, but still, noise that attempts to pierce my concentration, vying for attention. I sit on a bench at a table just inside a set of long, tall windows. A soft drink vending machine hums a steady note. Washing machines and dryers rumble. The irregular shmoosh-shmoosh of traffic passing on a wet street is muted by the window, higher tones intercepted by the glass. The only natural sound is a man with an operatic voice eager to engage on the subject of marriage as he folds newly-dry clothing on a table. While the urban orchestra may be largely comprised of mechanical instruments, it is not entirely so. The occasional dramatic crack and bang of nearby lightning are giant cymbals and following kettle drum, fading to a flutter-tongue trombone. Kathleen Dean Moore - image from her site The sounds of nature we experience most are weather-related. The howl of a gale, the whistle of a sustained wind as it slips past constructed edges, the susurrus of wind-shuddered trees, the plik-plik-plik of hail, the long shushing notes of rain. The screech and hiss of cats fighting offers the sudden blare of a coronet and soft mallets on a high-hat. Aside from that, we do not hear mammals beyond, for the most part, neighborhood canines who make their presence felt when mail or packages are delivered or when someone approaches too close to their no-walk zone. I seriously doubt you have heard much from our fellow urbanites of the rodent family. Ground hogs save their conversation for underground, raccoons chitter on occasion when deciding among themselves which garbage can is most accessible. Roaches, ants, bedbugs and termites being notoriously quiet, the buzz of crickets and cicadas is the likeliest insectile sound we will experience, depending on whether you live in close proximity to a hive of bees, yellow-jackets, or hornets. And, of course, the occasional pestiferousness of a horsefly, or mosquitoes. Depends what part of the world you inhabit, of course. Gulls on Anacapa Avian life probably offers the most sound from creatures in our natural aural canvas, the pik-o-wee of a red-winged blackbird, towee-oh-towee-ooh-towee-oh of a robin the hee-ah, hee-ah of the blue jay, the caws of covids, and gurgle of pigeons as they strut on an adjacent rooftop out of reach but within lunging distance of murderous pet felines safely contained behind windows, the rustle of feathers as a startled mourning dove launches. It is the sounds of avian life that receives the most coverage here. Great Blue in the Everglades All this competes with the incessant onslaught of the television, 24/7, or so it seems, spewing news and noise into the world. City traffic also offers ongoing background noise. In my neighborhood there is the added joy of numberless hordes eager to blast car stereos at teeth-shattering volumes, as they pick up pizza next door. And there’s the hair place across the street that has proven resistant to civil pleas to lower the volume on the music they blast onto the sidewalk in hopes of attracting, I am guessing, the hearing-impaired. Silence is a rare event, and is unnerving because of that infrequency. Frigate Bird in the Dry Tortugas I was living in Brooklyn when 911 happened. The sirens were ever-present, well, more ever-present than usual, masking the sudden absence of all air and most street traffic. Any city resident could tell from auditory clues alone that something very bad had happened. The soundscape changed, more than the hush created by a large snow. There was a different quality to it all, and it was unnerving, as if the quiet was in anticipation of another disaster. That was a sudden shift, and thus noticeable. The shift Kathleen Dean Moore writes of is a very different sort, more like the apocryphal frog in a pot of boiling water, which does not notice the gradual increase in heat until it is too late. Great Egret in Everglades It is necessary to leave the larger cities (unless, of course, yours features sufficient acreage to allow one true aural relief from the urban) to have a chance at a more natural chamber orchestra. The sound of waves at oceanside, of burbling streams in the woods, or rushing rivers before they become major thoroughfares. In the absence of prowling predators, there is usually no such thing as woodland silence. Particularly at night the airwaves are alive with diverse calls and responses, come-ons and threats, warnings and conversations. But the rich chorus of the unpeopled world is being silenced, as member after member of that grand orchestra has been removed from their seat. Vivaldi incorporated the sounds of wildlife into his masterpiece, The Four Seasons. Let’s hope that critter-mimicking played-instruments or recordings are not all we have left of the sonic scape of the world of wildlife. Green Heron in the Everglades It is, of course, not just creatures that Moore writes of. There are plenty of other sounds she celebrates, the song of dripping water in a luminous cave, the calming sounds of a singing mother soothing a squalling infant, the roar of the surf, the music of wind playing over cacti spines like a bow over strings, and plenty more. While a wide range of auditory experience is noted in this book, the largest representative of sounds that may be lost is the songs of birds. Anhinga in a tree - Everglades I am no one’s idea of an outdoorsman, thus my very urban point-of-reference noted above. But neither have I been locked in a box. National Parks hold a magnetic attraction and I have been fortunate enough to have visited a bunch. Moore’s effervescent tale of a pika sitting on her son’s shoe while somewhere above the treeline, and squeaking out a warning when Moore happened to move about in the family camp downhill from her progeny reminded me of having seen a pika sitting atop a rock in Glacier National Park, and issuing the same squeak. There is an excellent chance that a few of the critters she mentions here might be found in whatever part of the states you live in, or similar creatures in places outside the states. That occasional direct connection adds to the enjoyment of reading about experiences she has shared with us. Tri-colored Heron – Everglades In Earth’s Wild Music, Kathleen Dean Moore, has produced a cri du couer about the anthropo-screwing of our planet. She notes, in particular, the auditory element of our world, our experience of it, and the diminution of the actual evironment of sound on our planet as species go extinct. Juvenile White Ibis – Everglades It is a book rich not only with a blaring call for recognition of what is taking place, for concern and action, but with notes of information, many of which will make you say to yourself, “Huh, I never knew that,” whether silently or aloud. The calls of shorebirds, which evolved at the edge of the sea, have high frequencies, audible over the low rumble of surf. In the forest, birds have low-frequency voices because the long wavelength of the low tones are not as quickly scattered or absorbed by the tangle of leaves and moss. or The true gifts of the saguaro are the stiff spines set in clusters on the pleats of their trunks. When the wind blows across the spines, they sing like violin strings. Better yet, when you pluck a spine, it will sing its particular tone. If a person is patient in her plucking she can play music on a saguaro cactus. It was a jaw-dropping read for me, not just for the content, but for the gift of poetic description that Moore brings to her mission. I experienced the same piercing joy in reading this book that is usually reserved for books by Ron Rash or Louise Erdrich. The gifts of nature tell us there is a persistence to life that no measure of insolence or greed can destroy…the natural world holds us tight in its arms—calm as we tremble, patient as we mark the days “until this is over,” strong as we weaken. When the time comes, the natural world will embrace us as we die. It will never leave us. If we are lonely, Nature strokes our hair with light winds. If, frightened in the night, we wander outside to sit on a bench in the moonlight, it will come and sit beside us. If we are immobilized, having lost faith in the reliability of everything, still the Earth will carry us around the sun. If we feel abandoned, the Earth sings without ceasing—beautiful love songs in the voices of swallows and storms. This sheltering love calms me and makes me glad. Moore has been at this for some time. This is her eleventh book, continuing her lifelong dedication to writing about the moral imperative for protecting the only planet we have. I am two things, a philosophy professor and a natural history writer. They speak to the same thing, I think, which is developing a responsible relationship with a place, so that you can openly learn about it and it can openly inform you and you feel this moral urgency in protecting it. - from the NHI interviewIt is not so much that this book should be read slowly, it MUST be read slowly, sips, not gulps, savoring the stunning beauty of her words, the appreciation of, the wonder at our world, the sorrow at what has already faded. It reads like a novel that does not link scenes through action, but through theme. Yet those scenes can be compelling. There are 32 essays. In a chapter set in Washington state, flooding had loosened the grip on the earth of a stand of huge cedars, sufficient so that biblical winds could push them over, into each other, causing a cascade of tree onto trailers, stoving them to ruin, across roads, requiring the liberal use of chainsaws to clear passage, with the residents holed up in a local tavern hoping for surcease like a science fiction town hoping for the best against an invading zombie army. In another, she comes face to face with a cougar in a cow field. There is the song of water dripping in a luminous, unsuspected cavern, more like glass than stone. Pelicans – Everglades ==========In the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25%, from 20,000 to 15,000 characters. In order to accommodate the text beyond that I have moved it to the comments section directly below. I also cross-posted the entire, un-broken-up, review to my site, Coot's Reviews. Stop on by and make some noise Re-posted February 18, 2022 for release of the trade paperback - February 22, 2022

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Kathleen Dean Moore writes from a place of deep love for the worlds music—“the birdsong, the frog song, the crickets and toads, the whales and wolves, even old hymns and Girl Scout songs”. All the while, facing the sad facts of surging extinction. Kathleen and her husband, Frank spend a lot of their time in Alaska at their cabin. (their main home is in Oregon) They named their Alaskan cabin the “Drum House” — because each early morning when they wake —still in bed—they hear the little birds ‘rat- Kathleen Dean Moore writes from a place of deep love for the worlds music—“the birdsong, the frog song, the crickets and toads, the whales and wolves, even old hymns and Girl Scout songs”. All the while, facing the sad facts of surging extinction. Kathleen and her husband, Frank spend a lot of their time in Alaska at their cabin. (their main home is in Oregon) They named their Alaskan cabin the “Drum House” — because each early morning when they wake —still in bed—they hear the little birds ‘rat-a-tat’ — and it sounds like a drumbeat, sharp and insistent (beating on their metal roof). It’s true, what Kathleen said, “it must be powerfully rewarding for something so small to make a sound so large”. It hadn’t occurred to Kathleen that their cabin was designed in a long traditions of drums. Pretty cool realization... because of course it was!! 🦅 🐦 🦢.... I was reminded of the morning bird-chorus Paul and I woke to each weekend during our ‘sugar shack’ tent cabin days. Paul built it for us... (our mini Taj Mahal), in the woods at a nature resort. We visited our sugar shack every weekend - for about five years.... Awww, the good ‘younger’ days of our lives. Waking up early mornings snuggled under our cozy quilt hearing the birds sing - and seeing them outside out tent window was glorious! Today, Paul and I have many birds that visit our garden - (doves that return once a year and re-build their nest, and feed their babies)... several bird-feeders in our yard —and lots of squirrels and critters; neighbors cat visit often, too. Our indoor birds are Phil and Lil. We’ve never not owned birds inside our house. (43 years)... Their daily ‘sounds-of-pleasure’ never go unappreciated. Our yearly December trips to Maui and Kauai (where we honeymooned 43 years ago too), are days spent on trails exploring luscious beauty and sounds of nature intensely. “Wild Music”... as Kathleen calls it. Kathleen Dean Moore kept bringing back years of memories for me (with Paul... my main character as Frank is to Kathleen). I hope to keep creating new memories for many more years. It was impossible to read this book without being reminded of years-of-nature-treasures. And so...... I especially - so fully and thoroughly - enjoyed all the personal ‘Kathleen & Frank’ stories. From their long car rides, sleeping in tents, listening to bears, beach days, walks along mossy trails, thunderstorms, hot blistering, days, etc., it was a joy to imagine all the wonders that our nature-woman-author and her husband have experienced.... allowing some of us readers to reflect on our own similar experiences. SO NICE 🏔 It’s funny... I love nature - spend a great deal of time in it... (it’s my excuse - forgive me- why I often miss comment-connections online).... I’m busy being outside.... but I realized I don’t read many ‘traditional nature’ books ... [some]... but I’m not organically a nature-reader- so... this book was a great treat....for the reminder, reflection, beauty & miracle that nature is.... at the same time - global warming was never too far from my/ our shared thoughts. Kathleen educates gently, but clearly. She provides tips of things we - people- can do to ‘try’ to slow down our extinction crisis. Habitat loss through deforestation, mining, urbanization, and other destructions....over harvesting, overhunting, over-exploitation’s, pollution, poisoning, population growth, ... are the results of human decisions. Kathleen talked about us having a long way to go before it’s too late for life... “large or small; life will go on for probably 5 billion years, until the sun swallows the Earth in fire. What we do now will change everything forever. Whatever species get through the narrow hourglass of this century will determine what lives will evolve on the planet through that future”. So... it’s ‘not’ too late to do some things. “We can’t give up and lie supine before the human steamroller of destruction”. “Our greatest asset in the struggle, maybe our only hope, is the beauty and power of our own voices, raised in global chorus of outrage, conscience, and imagination”. I am reminded of the voice from Pete Buttigieg... “If this generation doesn’t step up, we’re in for trouble. This is, after all, the generation that’s gonna be on the business end of climate change for as long as we live”. Kathleen says.... “We can stand against corporate wreck and plunder. Stand. In the way. With the choir and a conscience and a sign. We can stand and say, ‘This is wrong, and I will not be a part of it’”. Kathleen Dean Moore... Thank you for being a voice for moral and emotional bonds to the wild. Thank you Betsy and Will for bringing the book - and this wonderful dedicated author to my awareness. There are many powerful excerpts to highlight... Here is one of them: “In birds, tantalizing evidence of birdsong is found in 67-million-year-old fossils, marking the first known appearance at the syrinx. The syrinx is the organ deep in birds’ chests that they are use to create their melodic songs. Now the whole Earth chimes, from deep in the sea to the high in the atmosphere, with the sounds of snapping shrimp, singing mice, roaring whales, moaning bears, clattering dragonflies, and a fish calling like a foghorn. Who could catalog the astonishing oeuvre of the Earth? And more songs are being created every year”.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    There is a particular section called “The terrible silence of the Empty Sky” in Moore’s newest collection of essays that still haunts me. After presenting a series of well researched facts about the vastness of the universe, she reaches the logical conclusion that the historically pursued dream of finding life in other planets is a complete waste of time, another blatant example of the blind stupidity of mankind; for what kind of intelligent, advanced civilization would want to respond to the dea There is a particular section called “The terrible silence of the Empty Sky” in Moore’s newest collection of essays that still haunts me. After presenting a series of well researched facts about the vastness of the universe, she reaches the logical conclusion that the historically pursued dream of finding life in other planets is a complete waste of time, another blatant example of the blind stupidity of mankind; for what kind of intelligent, advanced civilization would want to respond to the deafening calls of a self-destructive species like us? Such a pertinent question, particularly nowadays when we are witnessing once more how readily men kill their own kind for the sake of geopolitics and short-term profit. Moore writes with alarming calm, intersecting moments of spiritual reverie with terrifying information about the increasing and irreversible loss of species due to the excesses of human activity. Plants, mammals, birds and their natural habitats can’t escape the greed of humans, the short-sighted arrogance of a population that is destroying the necessary conditions for its own survival. Silence is generally linked to loneliness. Nevertheless, Moore makes the reader aware that it can also provide the quiet that we need to connect with sounds we have gradually lost touch with. Sounds that go back to the origins of our essence. The chirping of birds at dawn, this natural chorus that welcomes the sunrise in every corner of the planet. Water drops colliding on mossy ground. The sound of rivers flowing towards endless destinations carrying multitudes of lives and richness beyond human borders. Silence can also mean healing. Respect. Beauty. Praise for the wild life. This book exudes love for the natural world. Reminiscent of Mary Oliver’s poetry, Moore inspires and calls to action to live in communion with the planet that sustains us, empathizing with all its species rather than annihilating them for the sake of short-term monetary benefits, urging us to listen to its songs, to the natural sounds that are gradually disappearing by the myopic attitude of our fleeting lives. In view of the recent events I can’t help but wonder. How can human beings care about the natural world when we can’t even respect human life? It’s been this way since the beginning of times. It’s difficult to have hope and to believe in the goodness of people as we seem to destroy what we should love and venerate the most. May this senseless destruction of the human race be a process towards a new beginning, a minuscule chapter in the boundless book of time and space.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Robinson

    4/19/20 I'm rereading this (see original review below). And as I did last time, and now that I know what's coming I'm more confident about this, I'm reviewing the experience a mere 50 pages into my second reading. What I realize this time is that Kathleen Dean Moore makes you fall in love--with Earth and all its creatures and plants. That is why this book is so magnificent. Also, it holds up for a second reading. Each essay is complete and demands a pause--to reflect, to associate to your own exp 4/19/20 I'm rereading this (see original review below). And as I did last time, and now that I know what's coming I'm more confident about this, I'm reviewing the experience a mere 50 pages into my second reading. What I realize this time is that Kathleen Dean Moore makes you fall in love--with Earth and all its creatures and plants. That is why this book is so magnificent. Also, it holds up for a second reading. Each essay is complete and demands a pause--to reflect, to associate to your own experiences, to savor and digest it. So this is a perfect book to read in little bits, maybe even while reading another book (which I almost never do). 5/10/20 update I'm pretty much equally right- and left-brained and I can switch types of thinking consciously. That makes me a good editor, good at literary structure, basically a really good mechanic. I also have a good ear for voice and dialogue, having started as a playwright and actor. But after all these decades of writing, narrative still does not come easily. So when I read this paragraph (actually reread it as the writing is so good I'm reading the book for a second time), I thought: this is a master class in narrative. Not a limp adjective or verb. No showing off whatsoever, but just describing what is and what happens in the most vivid and visceral way possible. Although they are probably the very same whales that sing in Hawaii, the humpbacks of Southeast Alaska add a different call to their repertoire when they migrate back to northern feeding grounds. They are all violin music in the Hawaiian bays, but on the feeding grounds in Alaska, whales trumpet. The cacophony is part of their raucous feeding ritual, unique to Southeast Alaska. An assigned member of a pod circles deep, blowing bubbles the size of beachballs. The bubbles form a sort of cylinder, encircling a school of herring. Other whales swim below, herding the herring into a tight ball. A whale sounds the signal, that magnificent screech, and all the whales drive powerfully upward through the panicked fish, jaws agape. They go so fast, they breach the surface, sailing half a body's length into the sky. Water streams from the baleen curtains that hold the herring in their maws. Gulls scream as whales fall back onto the water with all the weight and grace of a school bus falling off a cliff. April 4, 2021 review At only 42 pages into this exquisite book, I find myself unable to contain my joy, enthusiasm, and pure ecstasy. This level of awe and excitement require action, so I just ordered a hard copy of the book from Bookshop.org (https://bookshop.org/books/earth-s-wi...) because: 1. I must own this. I want to mark it up and eat it! I'm reading a library copy, and I can't molest it in any way, so I'd rather slow down my reading and wait for a book that I'm free to consume. (No I won't eat it, but you get my emotion.) 2. I bought it because the actions I want to take are to roar "Thank you!" -- to Kathleen Dean Moore, who will get a royalty, and to indie bookshops that want to do service for readers, so buying from them through Bookshop allows me to enact an exchange in the direction of my beliefs. 3. If I were to begin marking quotes I want to remember in just the pages I've read, I'd mark up the whole book, so this way I can pick it up and reread as many times and as slowly as I choose any passage I open to. I want to recommend this book to everybody! The writing is sublime, charming, funny, serious, artistic but without guile, smart, all the adjectives. I don't want this book to end, and I'm worrying about that just 42 pages in, so ordering my own copy will make me stop and wait. This is not a literary meal you want to wolf down, and I will do my best to pause. I do not know if I will write a real review once I've finished this book. Maybe this is enough and I'll keep my other thoughts to myself. Thank you a million times, Will Byrnes, for reviewing this book. P.S. Just finished. Couldn't wait for my copy to come so just kept reading. I look forward to rereading and marking up my copy as soon as it's in my hot little hands.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    I read one review which started out with "this is not a feel good book". Exactly, because how do you put a positive spin on the deliberate destruction of our Earth? Moore tells us about the beauty of the wild creatures, the beauty of our surroundings in the natural world, the beauty of the sounds all around us, then tells us how much we have lost and are still losing, trying to scare us into action. Will we survive? Probably, but not in the same world that we live in now. I wish everyone could rea I read one review which started out with "this is not a feel good book". Exactly, because how do you put a positive spin on the deliberate destruction of our Earth? Moore tells us about the beauty of the wild creatures, the beauty of our surroundings in the natural world, the beauty of the sounds all around us, then tells us how much we have lost and are still losing, trying to scare us into action. Will we survive? Probably, but not in the same world that we live in now. I wish everyone could read this book and understand what she and other scientists are trying to tell us.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    A passionate plea for our planet, and for all who inhabit it, to halt the careless and carefree destruction of our home. If not for us, then for our progeny, and theirs. We have lost so many species already, some hunted to extinction to be displayed as trophies, while others are disappearing because of environmental changes caused by climate changes. Moore’s plea is personal, and strongly felt through her lovely prose, when she speaks of these places, and the music that will die along with the l A passionate plea for our planet, and for all who inhabit it, to halt the careless and carefree destruction of our home. If not for us, then for our progeny, and theirs. We have lost so many species already, some hunted to extinction to be displayed as trophies, while others are disappearing because of environmental changes caused by climate changes. Moore’s plea is personal, and strongly felt through her lovely prose, when she speaks of these places, and the music that will die along with the loss of the many species she writes about, it is not only heartfelt and personal, it is shared with the elation of one who loves our planet and cares for those who inhabit it, as well. ’The 2018 Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count found that the number of West Coast monarch butterflies spending the winter in California had plunged to only 20,456 individuals --a drop of 86 percent since the previous year. In comparison, the asteroid that slammed into the Earth 66 million years ago wiped out “only” 70 to 80 percent of life on Earth.’ I grew up in an area and era when both butterflies and fireflies were plentiful and part of the joys of childhood. A relatively small town, our neighborhood was fairly isolated from the main part of town, two blocks of homes with a few straggling lanes off of those, there might have been 20 homes altogether, a lake for fishing, and plenty of woods for exploring, including vines to swing on. When I moved away, those were things I missed, and when I moved back to another small town, I was so happy to see fireflies and butterflies aplenty that first summer, but I haven’t seen a firefly in five years, and butterflies rarely. I did have a recent visitor I hadn’t seen before, what my son referred to as “one fat gopher” nibbling on the grass from my back patio. And, although it’s been a few years, a young fox used to sleep up the hill behind my house, under a canopy of trees next to the gazebo. ’Even as I was celebrating this splendid world it was slipping away. I was midway through an essay on frog song when developers bulldozed the frog marsh for condominiums. I had just published an essay about an owl’s nest in a favorite lodgepole pine forest when the forest, and the nest, burned to ashes and spars. As I celebrated their songs, humpback whales grew thin, starving in a warming, souring ocean.’ ’In the fifty years I have been writing about nature, roughly 60 percent of all individual mammals have been erased from the face of the Earth. The total population of North American birds, the red-winged blackbirds and robins has been cut by a third...As many as one out of five species of organisms may be on the verge of extinction now, and twice that number could be lost by the end of the century...Unless the world acts to stop extinctions, I will write my last nature essay on a planet that is less than half as song-graced and life-drenched as the one where I began to write.My grandchildren will tear out half the pages in their field guides. They won’t need them.’ ’The loss of their music breaks my heart. Each time a creature dies, a song dies. Every time a species goes extinct, its songs die forever. How will we live under the terrible silence of the empty sky?’ An exquisitely composed plaintive plea to save the earth’s songs, and those that sing them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Comfort Me With Nature

    “Sometimes sounds turn me almost inside out with longing.” The first time I heard a deer vocalize, I was observing her from my second-story window. She and the other adult females that traveled together were protecting their offspring from a coyote that had dared to venture too close to their little family. Until that point, I didn’t know that deer could vocalize. The wheezy screams sent an undeniable message. I was both stunned and amazed. What other sounds had I been missing? Shortly after that “Sometimes sounds turn me almost inside out with longing.” The first time I heard a deer vocalize, I was observing her from my second-story window. She and the other adult females that traveled together were protecting their offspring from a coyote that had dared to venture too close to their little family. Until that point, I didn’t know that deer could vocalize. The wheezy screams sent an undeniable message. I was both stunned and amazed. What other sounds had I been missing? Shortly after that event, I saw a posting for this book and knew I wanted to read it. It was everything I expected and more. Kathleen Moore, a seasoned essayist, brings us a collection of both new and previously published works. These are her reflections on the presence and joy of song in nature, the tragedy of lost songs, and finally our obligation to save what we can and how we should proceed. Each essay is filled with detail and emotion. “We must understand,” she writes, “that we do not have the luxury of living in ordinary time…” You can feel her emotional restraint entwined with her plea for urgency and action. While there is some despair, she never dwells there too long without holding forth the chord of “active hope” for a different future. There have been many calls to action to find a more sustainable way for humans to live on the Earth. The plea isn’t new yet Moore’s essays still feel vital. More than just about song, this is also about listening. She encourages us to listen to the truth that is playing out around us, a truth that we have so far mostly ignored. Perhaps using song as a vehicle will stir something in the hearts of those who have been otherwise unmoved thus far. Why you should not miss this one: * this is an important addition to the genre, introducing another reason for action; * Moore’s timeline of hope is so on point; * the writing is accessible and relatable, even if you are not an experienced nature lover. Thanks to NetGalley, Counterpoint Press, and the author, Kathleen Dean Moore, for the opportunity to read a digital copy in exchange for this review. #NetGalley #EarthsWildMusic If you like this review, please consider checking out my blog at www.comfortmewithnature.com Thanks!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roryann Auroralights

    This lyrical and profound series of essays played on my heartstrings. Lovely music 🎶 and lamentations of what we have done to the planet, what future generations will be missing. 5 ➕

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    Kathleen Dean Moore's nature writing is bright and beautiful, and this book is especially dazzling because she incorporates her love of music throughout the whole book. But this book is also depressing, from start to finish. An author can choose to write whatever they want about their subject, narrow or broad, shallow or deep, but as I was reading this book, I wondered if, as a philosopher, the author had thoughts about the waning health of the planet other than it's ultimate demise as an inhabi Kathleen Dean Moore's nature writing is bright and beautiful, and this book is especially dazzling because she incorporates her love of music throughout the whole book. But this book is also depressing, from start to finish. An author can choose to write whatever they want about their subject, narrow or broad, shallow or deep, but as I was reading this book, I wondered if, as a philosopher, the author had thoughts about the waning health of the planet other than it's ultimate demise as an inhabitable planet as we know it. Philosophically speaking ... I think there is a lot more to talk about here, and I wish that the author would have expanded the book to discuss the "more". Overall, I very highly recommend this book and think anyone who has an interest in nature will like it. I think a small note is in order that this is not a "feel good" book - I think I would put it in the category of "call to action".

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cori

    This book is the healing balm I didn’t know I needed for my beaten down morale and soul. Moore skillfully reminds us the magic of the world still exists. We must simply make time to seek out the aptly called wild music of the earth. Her lyrical writing turns science lessons and field observations into poetry and transports you to far flung places. Her stories will inspire you to seek out your own immersive experiences in our wild places. Her direct reminders of existing loss and ongoing dangers This book is the healing balm I didn’t know I needed for my beaten down morale and soul. Moore skillfully reminds us the magic of the world still exists. We must simply make time to seek out the aptly called wild music of the earth. Her lyrical writing turns science lessons and field observations into poetry and transports you to far flung places. Her stories will inspire you to seek out your own immersive experiences in our wild places. Her direct reminders of existing loss and ongoing dangers to the natural world are not demoralizing and instead provide motivation to believe we can preserve and protect the natural world.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I live in a rural area, surrounded by nature. Our neighbors have cows, horses, goats, etc and the pastures host wild turkeys, deer, and all sorts of wildlife. Birds sing throughout the day and love a bountiful supply of sunflower seeds in the feeders. A few days ago three deer were only a few feet from my window. Sometimes I need to be reminded of how blessed I am to be able to live away from man's busy concrete jungle and in the serenity of the sounds of nature. Excellent writing and a fascinat I live in a rural area, surrounded by nature. Our neighbors have cows, horses, goats, etc and the pastures host wild turkeys, deer, and all sorts of wildlife. Birds sing throughout the day and love a bountiful supply of sunflower seeds in the feeders. A few days ago three deer were only a few feet from my window. Sometimes I need to be reminded of how blessed I am to be able to live away from man's busy concrete jungle and in the serenity of the sounds of nature. Excellent writing and a fascinating read. Enjoy!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kee Onn

    'Celebrate' has many meanings - usually joyous, but it can also be in mourning; to celebrate is to cherish, but also to raise awareness and spur action. In its core, celebration is an act of coming together in oneness, for a collective purpose. As agents of the Sixth Extinction, our lifestyle wipes out more and more of the number and diversity of animals, plants and natural environments on Earth, losing amongst many others, sounds of birds we will never hear again, of nature drowned out by human 'Celebrate' has many meanings - usually joyous, but it can also be in mourning; to celebrate is to cherish, but also to raise awareness and spur action. In its core, celebration is an act of coming together in oneness, for a collective purpose. As agents of the Sixth Extinction, our lifestyle wipes out more and more of the number and diversity of animals, plants and natural environments on Earth, losing amongst many others, sounds of birds we will never hear again, of nature drowned out by human noise. This book celebrates the sounds of Earth's Wild Music, and inspires us to take action to protect and advocate for the environment- if we wish to maintain life on Earth in the way as we know it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Judith Wagner

    I would read anything this author writes; her essays about the natural world, and her experiences in it, are clearheaded as well as poetic, and simply beautiful. The essays in this collection revolve around the theme of nature's sounds - its music - and the tremendous losses the world is experiencing, as the climate changes and many species decline. Moore doesn't stop at despair, though; she ends by showing us why she keeps on working in defense of the music, and why it's worth it. Many of these I would read anything this author writes; her essays about the natural world, and her experiences in it, are clearheaded as well as poetic, and simply beautiful. The essays in this collection revolve around the theme of nature's sounds - its music - and the tremendous losses the world is experiencing, as the climate changes and many species decline. Moore doesn't stop at despair, though; she ends by showing us why she keeps on working in defense of the music, and why it's worth it. Many of these essays were previously published, some in an earlier collection that I'd recently reread; but it doesn't matter: They're worth reading again, and the organization of this volume makes all of Moore's essays into something new.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I received this as part of a Goodreads Giveaway! An excellent series of essays that show us why we love the beautiful music that nature has provided and how we are losing it. It not only does that, but rather that depress us into uncaring sludge, it girds us to fight for what we have left and maybe even put back some of the loss. A triumph!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    “Our duty at this hinge point in history, some say, is to be grateful and glad. Our role, some say, is to celebrate the earth and to love it. Our challenge is to find beauty in the rushing changes. The moral obligation of those who love life itself, some say, is to be still and rejoice in the music of the singing world. The world is still beautiful; celebrate that. It’s true. This Alaskan island I am on is glorious. The thrush song is woven from shining threads of happiness. My grandchildren are “Our duty at this hinge point in history, some say, is to be grateful and glad. Our role, some say, is to celebrate the earth and to love it. Our challenge is to find beauty in the rushing changes. The moral obligation of those who love life itself, some say, is to be still and rejoice in the music of the singing world. The world is still beautiful; celebrate that. It’s true. This Alaskan island I am on is glorious. The thrush song is woven from shining threads of happiness. My grandchildren are a delight ongoing…I will accept sorrow as the last great offering from a desperate world. But then I will shape anguish into something that is fierce enough to stand in defense of all we love too much to lose.” Really thought provoking and hopeful and serious. This was the book that sinks into my bones like a song I know, but there was a very preachy side that may not be the best way to try to sway others into protecting the planet.But worthwhile as ways to cherish our planet, lightly edited for clarity. And poetry. In the fifty years that I have been writing about nature, roughly 60 percent of all individual mammals have been erased from the face of the Earth. The total population of North American red-winged blackbirds and robins have been cut by a third. Half of grassland birds have been lost. As many as one of out five species of organisms may be on the verge of extinction now, and twice that number could be lost by the end of the century…Unless the world acts to stop extinctions, I will write my last nature essay on a planet that is less than half a song-graced and life-drenched as the one where I began to write. We do have the luxury of writing in ordinary times. I’m convinced that writers are therefore called to efforts that are out of the ordinary. “We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, a book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.” Franz Kafka Disaster calls us to action. They call us to levels of compassion and courage we did know we could reach. They smash us with sorrow and lift us with determination and moral resolved, the way a wave both makes and lifts us in the same wild movement. Disaster transforms sorrowful love into a force strong enough to change the trajectory of history….Dear Mary Oliver, do you think this might now be how we do the work of loving a weary, reeling world? And don’t we have to try? You will find your calling in the intersection of your deep love and the world’s deep need. Frederick Buechner I know that whatever is left of the planet when the pillage ends that’s the world that the children will live in. Whatever genetic song lines, whatever fragments of whale squeal and shattered harmonies are life, that’s what evolution has got to work with. Music is the trembling urgency and exuberance of life ongoing, “Crossing a bare common…at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. Standing on bare ground-my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space-all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all. Ralph Waldo Emerson As the Earth swung heavily on its bell-chain, the night began to toll. Deep, soft belling seemed to roll over the desert, and ancient stone and ancient bone resounded. The saguaros sang out. Sand sifted down the flank of the moon-borne ridge. A drop of water popped onto the pool. Another. The poorwill called again. Profundo, adagio, deeply, slowly, the music pulsed through the dark amphitheater. I lay still, shaken by the night’s extravagant expressions of profound joy. I would make myself silent and resonant, tuned to the wild Earth. Did dinosaurs sing? Was there a teeming, singing wilderness with all the species thumping around, tuning up for the next millennia? Of course, dinosaurs sang, I thought. They are the ancestors of the singing birds and cousins to the roaring crocodiles…turns out, no. Turns out the syrinx, the organ that produces birdsong and the larynx, the organ that produces operatic arias, didn’t evolve until after the dinosaur extinction event…Some dinosaurs blew air into their closed mouths and through nasal cavities into resonance chambers, which we see in fossils as bony crests. They made the forest echo with clear, ominous tones, eerily like a cello. I have heard it in recordings scientists made of the sound they produced when they blew air through crests constructed to mimic lambeosaurus’s. Some dinosaurs cooed to their mates like doves…turns out that even if dinosaurs didn’t sing, they danced. There is evidence in vigorous scrape marks found in 100-million year old Colorado sandstone. From the courting behavior of ostriches and grouse, scientists envision the dinosaur males coming together on courting grounds, bobbing and scratching, flaring their brilliant feathers and cooing. Imagine: huge animals, each weighing more than a dozen football teams, shaking the Earth for a chance at love. What the story of the dinosaurs tells me is that if the earth didn’t have music, it would waste no time inventing it. In birds, tantalizing evidence of birdsong is found in 67-million-year old fossils, marking the first know appearance of the syrinx. Now the whole Earth can chime, from deep in the sea to high in the atmosphere with the sounds of snapping shrimp, singing mice, roaring whales, moaning bears, clattering dragonflies, and a fish calling like a foghorn. Who could catalog the astonishing oeuvre of the Earth? And more songs are being created every year. Human ears are built to hear birdsong, we hear most acutely in the range of 2.5 megahertz, which is the peak of birdsong. Human speech is pitched much lower, on kilohertz or below…Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton surmises that our bodies evolved not for party conversation but rather to harvest sounds from wild creatures… the aural signals on which our species’ success depended. But that’s just the beginning of the meaning we harvest by listening. Victor Hugo reminded us that ‘music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.’ Listen. Breathe Earth’s wild music into you body. You are not alone. Here is the harmony of which you are a part. Your joy is the exhilaration of birds…The depth of your feelings is the depth of time. Your longing is a spring chorus of frogs, ‘the wordless voice of longing that resonates within us, the longing to continue, to participate in the sacred life of the world,’ as Robin Wall Kimmerer wrote. When my colleague, a concern pianist, explained the augmented fourth, a dissonant interval, in music and in the wolf’s call, she brought both hands together in front of her body, palms skyward, fingers spread, and lifted the air. For her, words are not enough to describe this interval. It’s an interval of yearning, of hope- the sound of human longing. This is a sound that floods the soul, she said, and she strained forward from the waist. The augmented fourth is a heartbreaking interval, dissonance that comes so close to consonance, pulls itself so close, but never reaches the perfect fifth…Yearning, this ancient word, diving straight through history from the beginnings of language itself, a word as old as home or earth. There is necessary beauty in the world, I understand this. Beauty to attract mates, to attract prey, to attract pollinators. But so much of beauty seems to be bycatch, “unnecessary beauty,” waste products of essential processes. The opalescence of the inside of an oyster shell, a rainbow around the moon, a baby’s dreaming smile. Profligate beauty is a mystery to me. Sing praises. _________________ I don’t claim to understand the Bible, but I wanted to know what songs meant to Job, so I carried the text down the halls to my colleague who does. He found the passage in his copy of the Parallel Bible, a book that sets translations side by side. It turns out that songs is translated differently in each edition… ”Who makes glad songs at night,” and I thought, yes, this translator would understand what it’s like to sleep on a beach with the frogs in full chorus and the coots hooting. The glad songs…. Another as “who gives us strength in the night,” and I thought, this is the translator who has come onto the dunes on a night when the wind lifted and sent grains of sand streaming like the Milky Way over the escarpment where a mountain lion stood. Another translates the same line to “who gives us protection by night,” and I thought this translator must have slept on an island in bear country, right on the soft, sweet ground, right there in the salmonberries and swords ferns… the last one says, “who gives us vision in the night,” and I wondered, did this translator know the sudden seeing that has nothing to do with eyes?- that clear, sharp knowing that comes infrequently, the grateful understanding when light has never been so luminous or colors so clear. I wish I knew that one Hebrew word that means vision and strength and protection and glad songs. This is a word I could use. _________________ The calls of shorebirds, which evolved at the edge of the sea, have high frequencies, audible over the low rumble of the surf. In the forests, birds have low-frequency voices because the long wavelengths of the low tones are not as quickly scattered or absorbed by the tangle of leaves and moss. Scientific research shows that birds on the floor of the jungle sing in lower voices than birds in the tops of the same trees, and the northern forests carry the basso profundo voices of the owls and the grouse. But put a bird in an open meadow or marshland where sound can carry forever in the sunlit silence: here are the voices so beautiful to the human, also a savanna creature. Listen to. To hear with thoughtful attention. To hold something close, to attend to it, to be astonished by it, to devote your life to its mysteries, to name it precisely, to wonder how it comes to be. To stay awake to it. To move closer to the wild and twittering night. To let it cover you and keep you safe. To me, listening is starting to sound a lot like love. “We are most ourselves when we are intimate with the rivers and the mountains and the woodlands, with the sun and the moon and the stars in the heavens; when we are most intimate with the air we breathe, the Earth that supports us…with the meadows in bloom…however we think of eternity, it can only be a aspect of the present.” Thomas Berry Each of us Are so much More than we Think we are- This body these Sorrows and hopes. We are air Exhaled By hemlocks, We are water Plowed By whales, We are energy Ejected From stars, We are children Of deep time. Our ears tremble With wind through Treetops. Our eyes Flash with sunlight Through rain. How Can we be Fully alive, if We don’t pause To notice, and To celebrate, all The dimensions of Our being, its Length and depth And its movement Through time? _____________ A great whale is a wondrous creature, so tuned to the flashing fish and the dark sea. It is beautiful, the glistening blue-black back decorated with barnacles…a mammoth animal as graceful as flowing water. A great whale is knowing, as elders are knowing… It is magnificent beyond human measure, slowly folding and unfolding through time. It is roaring grand…It is a trembling consciousness, a manifestation of the mind of the universe. Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. If we are the only creatures in the universe who can make meaning out of all of this, what a terrible, terrible silence surrounds us. And what a soul-crushing responsibility we have, not to blow the one chance the universe has to understand itself…Intelligent life evolved at least twice on Earth, and who knows how many other times. On Earth, it took 3.8 billion years for human intelligence to evolve from the first evidence of life in rocks, and 500 million years for octopus intelligence to evolve from our common ancestor. The sun may burn out, but evolution has 9.5 billion years…if time is so incomprehensibly expansive, then possibility is unimaginably expansive too…what is happening around us that is too small to notice? What is happening around us that is too big for us to register? Maybe the pulse of life, the eons-long, universe-wide cycles of extinction and regeneration are the sound waves of the universe, and we are too small to hear. Maybe the universe is not silent, but is throbbing with the slow, slow music of mistakes and redemption that necessarily comes with time… On this planet, the glittering urgency of ongoing life is a close as we will get to the sacred, and forests are its jubilant expression. It follows that every suffering, every destruction of an old forest, is a profanity, an evil act. It is a violence we cannot even begin to measure because we have only the smallest understanding of the forest’s multitude of lives. “The beauty of things was born before eyes and sufficient to itself; the heartbreaking beauty will remain when there is no heart to break for it.” Robinson Jeffers It is hard to know what to make of this cosmic grief, but I do know that we have to make something of it. Otherwise, grief will make something of us and it may be fear or cruelty, resignation or madness…By the time the full moon returns, we will collect every gift of healing that the night offers. We might start with air. Or the moisture of the night. We will carefully lift shadows into the jar to wash their deep blue over the bright urgency of apprehension. We will have to work hard to get gravity into the jar…we’ll try to catch a bit of time, the most healing of all Earth gifts, and put it under the faithful tides. If you find yourself smiling, hold this too… I am allowing myself to believe that with grief always nearby, gratitude for the world’s remaining gifts may be close at hand and that will sustain us. The music of the day became the music of the years. If you sit still in the dark, breathing quietly, the world will come to life around you. Astonishment will rise in you like the slow tide…and then you will understand you are kin in a family of living things, aware in a world of awareness, alive in a world of lives, breathing as the shrimp breathe, as the kelp breathes, as the water breathes, as the alders breathe, the slow in and out. Oxygen created by plankton, carbon dioxide by the hemlocks. Every breath you take weaves you into the fabric of life. Like a sea slug or a clam, I am carbon atoms spun through time, arranged and rearranged in patterns. Break my patterns down to atoms, and I can scarcely be distinguished from the stars. “You could cut off my hand, and I would still live. You could take out my eyes, and I could still live. Cut off my ears, my nose, my legs, and I could still live. But take away the air, and I die. Take away the sun, and I die. Take away the plants and the animals, and I die. So why would I think my body is more a part of me than the sun and earth?” Jack Forbes, Powhatan-Ren’pe “Silence is like scouring sand. When you are quiet, the silence blows against your mind and etches away everything that is soft ad unimportant. What is left is what is real: pure awareness and the very hardest questions.” Gordon Hempton

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    Wonderful essays on nature, climate change, and the music the world makes. I took many notes. I cried. I laughed. I sighed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Chase

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The best nonfiction book ever!!!!!!!!!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    So good I bought a paper copy! A book to savour and re read, and lend to friends.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Descriptions so real, so enchanting you can see, hear, breathe, taste, touch and smell them. Through anecdotes the author beautifully captures what it feels like to to listen to nature. Truly listen. Her descriptions are spine tingling and goose bumpy, so many of them but some of my favourites include fog, sidewinders, raindrops, water at night, pika calls, shrimp, loons, caves, jellyfish, spiders, falling leaves, impeccable timing of bird migration, moss and crickets. Discover your own favourit Descriptions so real, so enchanting you can see, hear, breathe, taste, touch and smell them. Through anecdotes the author beautifully captures what it feels like to to listen to nature. Truly listen. Her descriptions are spine tingling and goose bumpy, so many of them but some of my favourites include fog, sidewinders, raindrops, water at night, pika calls, shrimp, loons, caves, jellyfish, spiders, falling leaves, impeccable timing of bird migration, moss and crickets. Discover your own favourites. Lovely quotes and definitions are used to further focus on the enjoyment of the moment such as yearning, joy and hope. The use of musical terminology and songs to even further describe is incredible, such as Beethoven's symphonies and "Ode to Joy". Bird songs are spelled out. Then there is grief. As a passionate nature lover, I can relate to so much in this book. I explore forests and just...am for hours and hours and have my own "square inch" of perfection where there are no manmade sounds for the entire time. I simply envelop myself in nature with keen awareness of all my senses. One leaf falling can be almost thunderous. The book ends with ecological and moral issues and duties, pollution, climate change, etc. and a plea to change things. And it's not a canned clichéd plea, either. We are hurting ourselves by doing nothing. Nature lovers and anyone who is concerned about us and other creatures should read this touching, lovely and inspiring book. My sincere thank you to Counterpoint Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this multisensory book in exchange for an honest review. Much appreciated.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paige Auber

    by far my favorite book I’ve read in a long time. a hauntingly poetic scope of what makes our earth so beautiful and how much is at stake from decades of human & corporation greed, selfishness and negligence. I have so many sections underlined to reference, I can’t wait to read this again and gift to others. “can I claim to love a morning, if I don’t protect what creates its beauty? can I claim to love a child, if I don’t use all the power of my beating heart to preserve a world that nourishes c by far my favorite book I’ve read in a long time. a hauntingly poetic scope of what makes our earth so beautiful and how much is at stake from decades of human & corporation greed, selfishness and negligence. I have so many sections underlined to reference, I can’t wait to read this again and gift to others. “can I claim to love a morning, if I don’t protect what creates its beauty? can I claim to love a child, if I don’t use all the power of my beating heart to preserve a world that nourishes children’s joy? loving is not a kind of la-de-da. loving is a sacred trust. to love is to affirm the absolute worth of what you love and pledge your life to its thriving, to protect it fiercely and faithfully, for all time.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Summer book bingo-About climate change These essays are some of the best I've read on climate change. This book is beautifully written, deeply moving, and so very important. Everyone should read it, ponder what they have read, and make a change for the good of all life on earth. Summer book bingo-About climate change These essays are some of the best I've read on climate change. This book is beautifully written, deeply moving, and so very important. Everyone should read it, ponder what they have read, and make a change for the good of all life on earth.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Friend of Robin Kimmerer, contemporary of Rebecca Solnit, shares the awe of creation, lyrical language, and long sentences with Brian Doyle, and writes with the density of the early Annie Dillard.

  23. 5 out of 5

    RuthAnn

    Thank you to Counterpoint Press for my free copy! “Listen to. To hear with thoughtful attention. To hold something close, to attend to it, to be astonished by it, to devote your life to its mysteries, to name it precisely, to wonder how it comes to be. To stay awake to it. To move closer to it in the wild and twittering night. To let it cover you and keep you safe. To me, listening is starting to sound a lot like love.” (from “Songs in the Night”) I read this collection of essays on vacation, and Thank you to Counterpoint Press for my free copy! “Listen to. To hear with thoughtful attention. To hold something close, to attend to it, to be astonished by it, to devote your life to its mysteries, to name it precisely, to wonder how it comes to be. To stay awake to it. To move closer to it in the wild and twittering night. To let it cover you and keep you safe. To me, listening is starting to sound a lot like love.” (from “Songs in the Night”) I read this collection of essays on vacation, and it was a wonderful combination alongside spending so much time outdoors and reflecting on Earth Day. The author writes powerfully about natural wonders and devastating environmental loss. The book is full of curiosity and observation, which prompted me to look up things like YouTube videos of Beethoven symphonies and whale song. It's a celebration of of nature that calls us to act. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to read this book and that its timing was so serendipitous. The essays reminded me of some of my favorites of last year that got me into birds: Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl, World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald. The book made me think of other ones about environmental damage: Rising by Elizabeth Rush and The Story of More by Hope Jahren. And there’s a thread of the oneness of the universe, which called to mind Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and themes from Madeleine L’Engle’s writing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Did you know that you can pluck the spines of a saguaro cactus and play a tune? Kathleen Dean Moore played Ode to Joy. Word images: the liquid octave of a canyon wren; or a coyote calling a question. This significant collection of essays celebrates the sounds and silence of the natural world and pleads for cessation of our collective loss of biodiversity. A quote: Each of us is so much more than we think we are -- this body, these sorrows and hopes. We are air exhaled by hemlocks, we are water p Did you know that you can pluck the spines of a saguaro cactus and play a tune? Kathleen Dean Moore played Ode to Joy. Word images: the liquid octave of a canyon wren; or a coyote calling a question. This significant collection of essays celebrates the sounds and silence of the natural world and pleads for cessation of our collective loss of biodiversity. A quote: Each of us is so much more than we think we are -- this body, these sorrows and hopes. We are air exhaled by hemlocks, we are water plowed by whales, we are energy ejected from stars, we are children of deep time. Our ears tremble with wind through treetops. Our eyes flash with sunlight through rain. How can we be fully alive, if we don't pause to notice, and to celebrate, all the dimensions of our being, its length and its depth and its movement through time? Thank you, Ms. Moore.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Team Wolfpack

    A book that hurts the heart to read but resonates at every level. The destruction that is happening around us in the name of profits is a disgusting, repulsive reality. This author marvelously articulates the absolute beauty and joy in all the things that make our planet sing and reminds us that all creatures have the fundamental right to life; something selfish humans have forgotten. She notices all.the.things. - something we work hard to instill in our children.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    Review copy provided by publisher - January 30, 2021

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette Porcello

    Enjoyed some of it but wasn't totally hooked. Great writing and cool blend of nonfiction with a personal touch. Enjoyed some of it but wasn't totally hooked. Great writing and cool blend of nonfiction with a personal touch.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    This is definitely one I will return to again and again.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    One of the best nature/environmental books I've read. Hands down. Her metaphors between music and nature are so poignant. One of the best nature/environmental books I've read. Hands down. Her metaphors between music and nature are so poignant.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Full of with beauty, inspiration, and grief for our earth.

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