I am not happy that I have finished this book, because it has finished.  I even tried to slow down in the last chapter.  I have a habit of reading aloud to the lovely Sharon when I find interesting bits.  Whether she likes it or not I can no longer tell as she has been worn down by my bombardments and protests no longer.  Although I am glad that she still shares her thoughts on the actual content of what I read.  She found John Lister-Kaye a little too poetic for her liking.  I can see where she is coming from with this critique but it is the lyrical and poetic images of this book that I loved.  Between the flow of this writing are interesting insights and stories of the natural world around us.  At least I am comforted by more books by the same author that I have not read.

The following passage is not one of the most poetical but it did stand out in my mind enough to dog ear the page.

The ascent of man has always been at the expense of the natural world; we have always destroyed our own habitat and the fellow creatures that would share it with us. But for most of human history the world was a big enough place to absorb our impact and to repair the damage as fast as we laid waste. When we felled forests they grew up again. When we broke camp and moved on to a new abode nature strode in behind with the beneficent process of re-colonization and restoration. We left nothing behind us but ash, bone, redundant timber, dung and clearings, all of which nature can cope with in a flash. Then Civilization strode into the arena. In awe of its compelling logic we stepped away from nature and abandoned the wild that had served us so well. We pillaged the forests to build great cities. The advancement of knowledge and the birth of science and technology seemed to be everything we could have wished for, matched in scope only by the conceit and complacency that spawned it. What we had not bargained for were the numbers of human beings that would arise as an inevitable consequence of advances in medicine, energy production and global mobility. Nor had anyone given thought to the space we would need to feed those ever-expanding populations. We lived with the grand assumption that there would always be enough land-water-food-natural resources for us all. For long enough there were. For several thousand years ‘Moab was our washpot and out over Edom did we cast our shoes’.

Tonight as I was standing in the garden I was also reminded of another part of the book that interested me.  As I looked up at the full moon I thought of part of the book about mammals and the moon.  It seems that nocturnal mammals have a cycle of activity that is tied to the moon.  Specifically a period of activity of feeding during the dark nights of the new moon and a period of relative inactivity during the bright full moon.  And, as they have less potential food during a full moon, the common predators of these nocturnal meals are also less active.  Are all these little creatures tonight hiding away in sleepy torpor?

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