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Outlands: Journeys to the Outer Edges of Cape Cod Reprint Edition
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I consider myself to be among the lucky ones who have stumbled across this gem. This is the second book by Robert Finch that I have read (the first being "Common Ground"), and I find it to have the same consistency and quality as the first book. Some essays, such as "Cutting in" (about beached pilot whales), "A Swallow Summer" are unsentimental narratives of natural phenomena, in which I find myself always struck by the clarity of his writing and the accuracy of the descriptions. Some essays have more of a human touch, such as "An Alewife Lesson" and "A Summer Place"; indeed, although they can undoubtedly be considered nature writings, one can argue that the natural phenomena in them have to take a backseat -- they are more about people and their behavior in nature. "What the Stones Said" has a mythical tinge, keenly reminding one of Thoreau's writings. "North Beach Journal" is the longest essay in the book, and it is an intimate account of one's journey into and out of solitude (at least that is how I read it).
I do not always agree with Mr. Finch's behavior. For example, in "The Seals of Jeremy Point", he described how he charged toward a group of sunning seals -- but at least he is honest to tell us the story. I think I understand why he did it though, for he said in the book "... it is not our impulses that are bad, but the manner and scale on which we have chosen to express them". Yes, the problem is scale, we eventually will crowd out everything else, and perhaps ourselves in the end.