Friday, June 26, 2009
The Animal Dialogues, by Craig Childs
The Animal Dialogues is one of the best collections of nature writing I've read in years, which puts Craig Childs in the company of giants: Barry Lopez, Annie Dillard, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Terry Tempest Williams. I found myself wondering how Childs could possibly write such beautiful sentences. It's the strength of his subject matter - The Animal Dialogues is a study in raw personal experience, richly interwoven with natural history and adventure, and infused with an expansive understanding of the animal kingdom. Childs finds magic in all creatures great and small, from grizzly bears on the Alaskan tundra and mountain goats in a lightning storm to rare toads in desert canyons and owls in forest snowstorms. The sum of these experiences is a powerful reminder that humans are but a small part of this planet, and the more we pay attention to the world around us, the more we gain in wonder and grace.