Tuesday, February 05, 2008
The cream separator
I'll start with Bernd Heinrich, the raven fellow, who studies the woods. I wish I had got started on nature study much earlier in my life. In the last two days, I have read his books One Man's Owl, and A Year in the Maine Woods. In the process, I picked up some good hints as to what is going on in my own woods in Northwest Lower Michigan, Also, I am getting some interesting things to think about concerning the management of our woods. Selective cutting of timber, to open out the woods for different species is probably a better idea than I had been thinking. It will just be hard to find quality ecologically sound loggers and provide for protection of the woods in the future,
I have been struck throughout by the thoughtful consideration of issues of life, death and species survival with a careful scientific outlook and when he can, investigation. His investigation of the pupating cases of large moths and finding out how many of them had been parasitized by small wasps and other problems leads to his conclusion that he will not see any of these moths for many years is one example.
He talks of the geat wealth of seeds from trees, the huge amounts of mice which are eaten by owls and other predators, the oversupply of cluster flies, etc.
In all cases, there is a calm acceptance of the way life/nature is, and a respect for evolutionary process. There is just enough (but not too much, or too silly) information about the personsl events of daily life in the woods. He is investigating something almost every day; he follows his curiosity or new events or observations wherever they lead. He is also a long-distance runner, climb forest trees, and makes elegant scientific drawings, some of which are reproduced in the books. I love these books, as I loved the first book of his I read, Ravens in Winter. I plan to read everything of his that I can get.