3 Books Every Nature Explorer Should Read
– by Gary Marks
A bold statement? Maybe, but these three books have absolutely changed the way I view nature. I know that these books may not be to everybody’s liking, but if your looking for a good read, while on vacation or while sitting on top of giant sandstone bluff, one of these books might be a great companion.
Not Walden! Wasn’t I forced to read that in high school? What the heck can a book over 150 years old possibly tell me about today?
I was in that camp many years ago, but this is one of the first books that I read after becoming serious about exploring our area. At first I struggled with the archaic writing structure from the 1800’s, but as I slowed down and read and read again, “Golden Nuggets” begun to appear.
The first chapter, Economy, is well worth a lazy afternoon read. Many of the quotes that Thoreau is known for are plucked from the pages of this chapter.
- Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me…
- The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
- What a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.
This single book has helped me more than any other book to encourage me to slow down and take in my surroundings. This is where I learned about a technique called “splatter vision”, that explains how to use wide-angle seeing to observe natural events. The first two chapters (around 60 pages) are invaluable for nature observation.
Tom Brown Jr.’s story involves a lot of Native American techniques, some of his suggestions can seem odd in today’s world, but the nice thing is we can always pick and chose the wisdom that we take away from anything we read. The second part of this book deals with the art of tracking, which is interesting, but I find very difficult to implement.
- Nature is far more colorful and fascinating than most of us can imagine. But our minds are so clouded by modern thought patterns and stimuli that we do not perceive the pure and natural except through a distorting lens.
- If you want to observe more in nature, take off your watch and pay more attention to your internal timekeeper. Let the terrain and your interests dictate your schedule.
- But the newness is always there, laying just beyond the veils of habit and assumption.
I debated whether to include this book over some other classic nature writing, but the more I thought about it, the more this one just stuck out in my mind that everyone with children should consider.
Some have balked at his suggestions in urban environments, but for myself as a youth, my days on our farm when we were pushed outdoors are some of the happiest times in my life. The unstructured times of just exploring were invaluable and one of the reasons this website your are reading are here today. Louv dives head on with our “indoor” society and the effects on children. Some of his ideas may not be practical , but you will never think about children and the outdoors in the same way.
- Unlike television, nature does not steal time; it amplifies it.
- Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.
- Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment – but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature is fading.
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Samples & Disclaimer
I have recently become a lover of a little device called the Amazon Kindle. One of the reasons I like this device is that it lets you download free samples directly to your PC, Ipad, Itouch, Adroid, or Kindle. I like the way you can read at your own pace and get the flavor of the book before you buy and since it’s digital it seems more eco-friendly.
I, also, recently have become an affiliate for Amazon and receive a small 4% commission on most items that are purchased from clicking on the links in this article. It is not necessary to buy them directly from Amazon, but it would help me continue to bring free articles to this website. Thanks.