Notes from the Shore

Overview

For three years Jennifer Ackerman lived in the small coastal town of Lewes, Delaware, in the sort of blue-water, white-sand landscape that draws summer crowds up and down the eastern seaboard. Notes from the Shore is a book about discovering the natural life at the ocean's edge: the habits of shorebirds and seabirds, the movement of sand and water, the wealth of creatures that survive amid storm and surf. It weaves together science and description with personal observation and reflection, in the spirit of such ...
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Overview

For three years Jennifer Ackerman lived in the small coastal town of Lewes, Delaware, in the sort of blue-water, white-sand landscape that draws summer crowds up and down the eastern seaboard. Notes from the Shore is a book about discovering the natural life at the ocean's edge: the habits of shorebirds and seabirds, the movement of sand and water, the wealth of creatures that survive amid storm and surf. It weaves together science and description with personal observation and reflection, in the spirit of such writers as Rachel Carson, Lewis Thomas, and Terry Tempest Williams. A cape at the southern lip of the Delaware Bay across from Cape May, New Jersey, is the setting for Ackerman's explorations of shore life, but the images she evokes apply wherever land touches sea. In "Between Tides" she looks at the strange hive of life beneath the sand flats of the cape. "The Great Marsh" tells of the rhythms of a place half-land, half-sea. In "Spindrift" a storm-battered beach gives rise to reflections on other chaotic phenomena, such as the flocking of birds and the evolution of sea life. Notes from the Shore will be relished by anyone who has walked a beach at sunset or watched a hawk hover over a winter marsh and felt part of the natural world. With a quiet passion and friendly, generous intelligence, it explores the way that landscape shapes our thoughts and perceptions and shows that home ground is often where we feel the deepest response to the planet.

An elegant and intimate exploration of the natural world around a small coastal town, this book is about learning to see the natural life at the edge of the sea, a place of movement, change and beauty. It will be a relished vacation book and treasured as a souvenir. Line drawings throughout.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like walking along an ocean beach with a knowledgeable, articulate friend, reading this personalized natural history is a restorative experience. Ackerman, a freelance science journalist, writes about what she learned of and from her surroundings during the three years she lived on Maryland's Atlantic coast near the southern tip of the Delaware Bay. With grace and avid particularity, she considers the history and characteristics of this landscape of marshes, mud flats and ``walking'' sand dunes, whose movement is orchestrated by the ocean current that parallels the shore. She observes the annual mating of horseshoe crabs (under a spring full moon) and watches for shore birds, from the tiny, semipalmated plover to the great, DDT-threatened osprey. At low tide, she probes the tidal flats for mud worms (tube, acorn, ribbon, plumed) and parses marsh grasses (sea lavender, cordgrass, saltwort and Spartina) at dawn. Against this landscape's rhythms, Ackerman revisits her own history-her mother's death, her father's illness and her hopes to have children of her own. (May)
Library Journal
Ackerman, an accomplished writer who has contributed to a number of national and regional publications, is a Midwesterner transplanted to the Delaware shore. In this book, she turns her keen and discerning eye toward the environment she inhabits. Often despairing of nature's ability to repair what human activity has so totally disrupted, Ackerman eloquently details the natural history of a region often thought of as totally developed. She takes the reader on many journeys, stopping along the way to discuss various species of crabs, fish, and shore birds. Ackerman does not neglect the human denizens of the beach, introducing the readers to a number of engaging local personalities. Recommended for public libraries.-Randy Dykhuis, OHIONET, Columbus, Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140177886
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/11/1996
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Table of Contents

Maps
Prologue 1
Harbor of Refuge 11
Osprey 35
Between Tides 59
The Crab's Tail 79
Five Fathoms 97
The Great Marsh 111
The Strange and Wonderful 129
Seeds of Mischief 151
Spindrift 171
Acknowledgments 189
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