The Way To The Salt Marsh / Edition 1

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Overview

"In common things are greater extensions of ourselves than we ever conceived of."

"Life on earth springs from a collateral magic that we rarely consult," observes John Hay, naturalist, essayist, sage, and inveterate walker of byways. This collection from the 50-year long career of America's preeminent nature writer illustrates the full range of Hay's work. An elegant and lyrical stylist, he is, in Merrill's words, "the nature writer's writer, an illustrator of the Emersonian notion that 'the world is emblematic.'"

And so Hay reveals the ubiquitous but often unnoticed emblems all around us. The mad, impossible rush of alewives flinging themselves upstream to mate, for example, represents "the drive to be, a common and terrible sending out, to which men are also bound in helplessness." In the migratory movements of the terns and the green turtles past his beloved Cape Cod Hay sees the mystery and magnificence of homing: "To know your direction and return through outer signs, is as new as it is ancient. We are still people of the planet, with all its original directions waiting in our being." Whether describing the rugosa or bayberry of a sand dune, the plight of stranded pilot whales, or a spider swinging on its gossamer, Hay encourages us to enlarge our inner universe by observing, appreciating, and preserving the outer one we so often ignore. As a result, he says, "we may find that we are being led onto traveled ways that were once invisible to us," and by recognizing our "deep alliance with natural forces we find a new depth in ourselves. This is the common ground for all living things."

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What People Are Saying

Bill McKibben
There are in these pages intimations of a deep and lovely harmony. These piecces come from John Hay's utterly essential body of work; may they serve as a guide for many into both his books and the world they describe.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874518641
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 7/15/1998
  • Series: John Hay Reader Series
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN HAY, author of The Great Beach (winner of the John Burroughs Award), The Immortal Wilderness, The Run, and many other books on nature, is past president of Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and former Professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College.

CHRISTOPHER MERRILL holds the William H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross. He is author of 12 books of nonfiction and poetry.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
from The Run (1959) 1
The Drive to Be 3
The Power of Fragility 8
Going Out 13
from Nature's Year (1961) 17
A Wild Home Land 19
Colors of the Season 25
An Old Place, an Old Man 31
Deeper News 37
from The Great Beach (1964) 41
An Unimagined Frontier 43
Who Owns the Beach? 52
from The Congressional Record 63
John Burroughs Medal Address 65
from In Defense of Nature (1969) 69
A Dependable Endurance 71
The Eye of the Heart 84
from The Undiscovered Country (1981) 95
The New World 97
Homing 102
The Prodigal Style 114
Listening 125
from The Immortal Wilderness (1987) 133
The White Pelican 135
Open to the Sun 146
Sacred Places 153
Natural Architecture: Poems 165
from The Bird of Light (1991) 171
Migrants in Winter 173
Ritual 184
The Speech of Terns 196
from A Beginner's Faith in Things Unseen (1995) 203
Stranded 205
A Faire Bay 216
Fire in the Plants 227
from In the Company of Light (1998) 239
The Way to the Salt Marsh 241
Life in Space 248
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