Have you ever had an experience with a book that literally leapt off the shelf at you? I find this happens to me quite a lot, and it's remarkably uncanny just how much the book holds meaning to my current situation. This week, after the sad loss of our family dog Dexter a fortnight ago, Animals in Spirit was the book that sprung out at me, and this poem from within sang so true to me that I just have to share it. For anyone who has lost a beloved pet, or who has a special animal that they hold dear in their lives, this one is a must-read.
"First there was nothing. Then there was everything.
Then, in a park above western city after dusk, the air is raining messages.
A woman sits on the ground, leaning against a pine.
It's bark presses hard against her back, as hard as life.
It's needles scent the air and a force hums in the heart of the wood...."
This is the opening paragraph of Richard Powers' The Overstory - I am already entranced and cannot wait to sink my teeth into this book!
"A philosophical question: if a tree falls in a forest and no-one is
around to hear it,does it make a sound?
And if a woman who's wholly alone occasionally talks
to a pot plant, is she certifiable?
I'm confident that it is perfectly normal
to talk to oneself occasionally.
It's not as though I'm expecting a reply.
I'm fully aware that Polly
is a houseplant"
(Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, p57)
I absolutely love Jane Goodall - her passion for chimpanzees, animals, humans and the entire wellbeing of the planet itself is so admirable it is difficult to comprehend how one human being (now in her 80s) has managed to fit so much into one lifetime. I've been fortunate enough to help with the efforts of Jane Goodall Institute Australia recently, and just a few weeks back actually got to meet her (see my personal blogpost about this here)!! It's a memory I will never in my life forget, and one that reinforced my own life's purpose and direction.
Prior to my meeting with her I felt drawn to read one of her books called 'Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey' - it called to me not only because of my admiration for her conservation work, nor for her tremendous breakthroughs and discoveries as a primatologist, but for her spiritual experiences and journey in contemplating the deeper meaning of life. So when I picked up this book and read the opening paragraphs about her life changing and mystical visit to the Notre Dame in Paris in 1974, I was floored..
“We can no longer hear the voice of the rivers, the mountains, or the sea.
The trees and meadows are no longer intimate modes of spirit presence.
The world about us has become an ‘it’ rather than a ‘thou.’”
(Thomas Berry, “The Meadow Across the Creek,” in The Great Work, 17)
When Thomas Berry wrote this book almost 20 years ago he couldn't have predicted what would lie ahead....and yet in many ways this book was written as if by a prophet foreseeing the future!
'The History of Bees' by Maja Lunde
I seriously cannot put this book down. The short chapters and three distinct but interwoven plots shift across timezones set almost 250 years apart. In some ways it reminds me of another favourite of mine The Time Traveller's Wife, the way it yo-yos back and forth in time following the love story of time hopper Henry and his beloved Clare; or David Mitchell's marvellous Cloud Atlas masterpiece.
I am finding myself resonating the most with the character Tao, a Chinese mother from the year 2098 who faces every mother's worst nightmare. She is defiant and courageous and goes to unbelievable heart-wrenching lengths to find her little boy Wei-Wen. The storyline seamlessly moves across centuries without my noticing, and has inspired within me a deep appreciation and respect for the noble bees in my backyard - and for their vital importance to the survival of our planet! A great read! For more information and reviews click here or use the 'buy now' button to purchase your own copy.
Thank you so much for being here! This is my little 'book blog' where I write about what I'm currently reading, or what books I'm surrounding myself with.