Review: Curious by Nature – One Woman’s Exploration of the Natural World
I remember being transfixed as a kid by the "Planet Earth" programmes -- in my opinion, the most celebrated television series of nature and wildlife documentaries that were superbly narrated by the inimitable Sir David Attenborough. The urgent yet unwavering tone and timbre in his voice lent much gravitas to the astounding photography and stunning camerawork.
Likewise, the stoically sympathetic voice of observant naturalist author Candace Savage lends much authority to this collection of essays. Despite the absence of visual aid, it is an incredibly evocative tribute to the feral Saskatchewan landscape, which the author uses as a microcosm of ecosystems worldwide.
Indeed, the book doesn't require pictures to help the reader appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the natural world; whether she is describing the humble lancet fluke (a miniscule parasitic worm) or the majestic grizzly bear, Savage's intention -- as she states clearly in her preface -- is to "put the flesh of emotion back onto the bare bones of fact".
From intimate entomological studies of Psoloessa delicatula (the miniscule brown-spotted range grasshopper) and awe-inspiring encounters with the elusive mountain lions, to existentialist musings about peregrine falcons and mighty bison, the book is at once didactic and lyrical, as the Canadian author waxes poetic about North American flora and fauna.
Always present is the underlying message of the inexorable connectivity not only between multitudinous ecosystems, but also between Man and wilderness. Coincidentally, the author posits that "wilderness" is not a synonym for "pathless waste" and should be considered a verb. "It is what the Earth does to create and sustain life on this planet, what it has been doing for the last 3.5 billion years, what we must hope it will continue to do for millions of years to come," she writes.
Sir David Attenborough would be proud.
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J.W. Anderson presented his menswear line for summer 2014 in London, in continuity with the feminine collection.
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