Friday, April 20, 2007

My Almanac

I have been reading a few essays every night in
"East Wind Melts the Ice".

I enjoy the way Liza Dalby dove-tails all of her interests.
I keep all sorts of journals.
I document butterfly and bird sightings, flower bloom times and when I planted seeds or plants.
I keep a monthly journal of comings and goings.
I think I will follow Lisa Dalby's lead.
I want to dove-tail my interests.
I am thinking a weekly almanac with photos and poems and musings would be fun to do.
I could gather my thoughts once a week and write my own almanac.
Is this book affecting you?


Housefrau said...

I've been reading, but have been a little slow about posting.

I too find myself wanting to emulate this book and write a personal almanac. I do think that next year I will re-read this book beginning in February, and read one essay a week, maybe write a response essay as I meditate on what she has to say.

Here in the middle of a bustling city, I am noticing my own signs of the season change. For one thing, there's a lot of jackhammering. It's road-construction season!

This book gives me a lot to ponder and I don't think I have all my thughts together yet. I am only about 70 pages in.

What does everyone else think?

Chrissie said...

Well I guess I am way behind everyone else now but I have started to read East Wind Melts The Ice! I am enjoying it and finding it a great bedtime book. It's not quite what I imagined, but then I'm not quite sure what I expected :-). The first essay surprised me, being about her friends sheep :-) Look forward to hearing other comments.

Housefrau said...

Chris, I agree that this is a great bedtime book. I have trouble reading at bedtime because I either fall asleep on top of my book or I get so into what I'm reading that I stay up all night. But East Wind is a good balance--the essays are just long enough that I don't doze off, and the meditative mood of the writing helps me relax.

I liked that first essay a lot. When I was a kid I tried to convince my parents that we should have a pet sheep, the payoff being that we'd no longer have to mow the yard. (They didnt buy it--no pet sheep for me!) But I loved how the author's friends kept the sheep not for meat or wool, but simply for the harmony they brought to the land, keeping the grass cropped.

Mary said...

I'm afraid I'm still behind in my reading as well, being only around 50 or so pages in the book. I'm absolutely loving every second of it though. I agree with Housefrau in that the essays are the perfect length for bedtime reading.

I've always liked the idea of journaling, but have never been committed to actually keeping a journal. I've dabbled a bit in the past, but never achieved anything of any consequence or permanence.

I'm not a terribly proficient gardener, but do encourage the idea of "nature notebooks" with my youngest daughter as part of her education. I love the idea of taking those observations of the natural world and finding relavance to everyday life through them as the author does.

I think the simple fact that this book has encouraged all of us to consider writing a personal almanac is a great part of its charm. Sometimes books written by naturalists can be intimidating and aloof. This author and her words are anything but intimidating and aloof. She's emminently approachable. She writes from a location that many of us relate to on topics that definitely have a resonance with most of us. Combine that with those wonderful introductory passages explaining the ancient origins of the season and you've got a lovely book.

This is definitely a book I see myself purchasing for friends and family throughout the year.

Mary said...

One more thing . . .

I was thinking the other day about my slow approach to this book. I'm generally a fast reader and move through quite a few books at a time with a fairly brisk pace. While I've definitely had my attention engaged elsewhere the past couple of weeks (and anticipate the same frantic pace throughout next week) with family visits and handwork projects, it's still a bit surprising that I haven't finished this book since I enjoy it so much.

After thinking about it a bit the other night, I think I can attribute part of my leisurely pace to the fact that the book starts in spring and we're right in the middle of spring here. So much of what she writes I can see out my door or have a fresh recollection of from a month or so ago. Spring in the Pacific NW is truly lovely, probably the most beautiful time of the year here, and I've always enjoyed it. Reading this book along with actually experiencing the beauty outside my window is such a pleasure I'm savoring it bit by bit and am reluctant to move on.

Housefrau said...

You make a great point, Mary--I too have been reluctant to move out of the Spring portion of the book. Its so relevant. I too am in the Pacific NW. I moved here in September and am experienceing Spring in this part of the world for the first time. It's amazing.

I am also usually a fast reader, and am actually really enjoying this slower pace. It's so nice to really savor a book instead of devouring it all at once.

Q said...

I find I read a couple of essays before bed too! I also am going back and reading the essay for the up coming five days. Back and forth I go. I keep thinking about how the natural world corresponds with my inner world. Before I drift off to sleep I find I am "naming" my day.
I saw my first Hummingbird this morning. Immediately I thought, "April 27th, Arbor Day, Hummingbirds return."