Friday, January 19, 2007

A Star, Then a Sunset

Friday, January 19, 2007
Scott Weidensaul, author, naturalist, all-around nice guy.

Our good friend, Scott Weidensaul, came to town last night to speak to The Marietta Natural History Society. His talk was about his fabulous book Return to Wild America which is the account of his retracing of the Wild America trip made by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher in 1953. Big shoes to fill, but Scott is the right person for the job.

His program covered the many places he visited and what he found had been preserved, what had been lost, what is endangered, and what might yet be saved. While it's clear that much has been lost in the 50-plus years since the original Wild America journey, not everything is environmental gloom and doom. Scott delighted in telling us about the positive things he found--magical natural places now protected, birds and animals on the rebound and many more abundant today than they were 50 years ago.

It's impossible to do his program justice here. Go buy his book. Better yet, buy ALL of Scott's books, which include The Ghost with Trembling Wings (about extinction), and Living on the Wind (about bird migration and for which Scott was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize!), among others. Scott is a bright, shining star among nature writers.

Scott stayed overnight with me and the kids at Indigo Hill. It was a fine thing to hear his appreciative words about our farm, house, and birding tower. He asked me at one point: "Do you REALLY get 70 cardinals here when it snows in winter?" I was flattered that he had gleaned this tidbit of info from Bill of the Birds (Hi Scott!).

"Yep! And that's just counting the ones we can see all around the edge of the yard." A little later snow flurries started up and the cardinals converged on the feeders. We counted more than 40 out one window.

I interviewed Scott for "This Birding Life" and recorded him reading a selection from Return to Wild America. What a voice! No wonder he's know as "The Velvet Fog of the Schuylkill." These audio files will be posted on the BWD website in the near future.

Later, after Scott left, after the kids got back from school, after the phone started working again, after our Internet connection got straightened out, after I cooked turkey and lima beans for dinner, after I got another load of laundry started, after I got the Zick report from FL, after Baker took his evening wee-wee amble, there was a very unusual sunset.

Not sure what this portends, but there was a long orange-sherbet-colored streak reaching like a rocket trail most of the way across the sky, from west to east.

It was lovely just the same.


On January 19, 2007 at 9:27 PM zeladoniac said...

Hang in there, BT3. A beautiful sunset foretells a fair day.

And my word verification of the day is "gidyotat". I like it.

On January 20, 2007 at 8:25 PM Anonymous said...

Love an orange sherbet sunset myself.
Caroline in SD

my word verification is jszizel...wondering what sort of creature it is, sounds like something that would be a contemporary of the Jabberwocky or a momerath.

On January 20, 2007 at 9:26 PM flamonkey said...

The list of things you did around the house sounds strangely familiar. Wait! Did you get ahold of my to-do list?
My Word Verification: SWGEMA

Be careful with that one.

On January 21, 2007 at 11:03 AM birdchick said...

Thanks for posting the dreamy Scott Weidensaul photo!

On January 22, 2007 at 8:51 AM teageeare said...

I met Scott Weidensaul several years ago in Alabama, at the Fort Morgan banding station. Very nice guy.

On January 27, 2007 at 5:59 PM Diane said...

Somehow I missed Scott Weidensaul's book "Return to Wild America". I will rectify that immediately & go buy it.
I own the original "Wild America" & a similiar book published in 1986 by Lyn Hancock called "Looking for the Wild". Are you familiar with that one?
When I go on birding trips...Florida/Texas & Arizona in May/07 (Yippee!) I always get out those 2 books & read what each author had to say about the area I'm about to visit.
BTW I live at the starting point of these books...
Love BWD & check into your blog regularly,