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One Day on Beetle Rock (California Legacy Book) Paperback – July 1, 2002
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''One Day on Beetle Rock is a book of rare distinction, at once a record of objective facts, of deep feeling without sentimentality, and intense and subtle perception expressed in beauty.''--New York Times Book Review (December 1944)
''Not a leaf-turn, not a shadow, not a footfall or a wingflash has escaped her. One can almost follow 'the scents that lay like vines across the forest floor.' The scene is tranquil but the pace is fast.'' --The Atlantic (February 1945)
About the Author
Sally Carrighar (1898-1985) was one of the most respected naturalists of her time. Awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for fieldwork in the Arctic, she traveled far and wide from her native Ohio. Carrighar was the author of ten books and also wrote extensively for movies and radio throughout the twenties and thirties.
David Rains Wallace has published over a dozen books on natural history and conservation, most recently the Official National Park Handbook for Yelllowstone. His third book, The Klamath Knot, won the John Burroughs Medal for Literature in 1984.
Carl Dennis Buell is an illustrator and naturalist whose work has been featured in museums and zoos throughout the country, as well as in numerous national magazines. He has been clawed, pecked, or bitten by most of the species of wildlife featured in this book.
Top customer reviews
Unlike Thoreau and all his literary descendants, Carrighar does not focus on the spiritual reverberations of nature in the human soul, and she does not speak of herself. In his introduction to the California Legacy Book edition, David Rains Wallace highlights her "down-to-earth, impersonal" approach. Today's nature writers, perhaps influenced by postmodernism and multiculturalism's emphases on individual perspective, rarely attempt to enter the consciousness of other beings. Perhaps they avoid cuteness, projection, and presumption that way. They also miss a chance to help us realize that other creatures exist as hungrily as we do.
As a veteran reader of nature writing, I am embarrassed to say that I felt surprised when this book made me remember that the animals I glimpse and don't glimpse on the trail must have continuous, emotional and sensory lives. I felt like going outside to watch a bluejay for an hour. I felt that the jay wouldn't bore me and I might be able to figure out what the he was up to.
Carrighar didn't entice me with the promise of objective knowledge of a secret kingdom. Rather, she made me wonder if I could achieve a sense of home in that kingdom through intimate knowledge. Though she never describes her own process of observation, Carrighar offers herself as a teacher. With her clear, faithful gaze, she comes as close to joining the community of Beetle Rock as a human can.
Recommended for all, but especially for young readers. This book puts the reader right inside the lives of the animals, but as they are in nature - not in movies or TV.
If anyone is planning a trip to Sequoia or elsewhere in the Sierra, I would also recommend this to them. It is a great reminder that the wilderness does not exist just for human entertainment or recreation.