The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

by Henry Beston

Paperback(First Owl Book Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805073683
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/01/2003
Edition description: First Owl Book Edition
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 89,491
Product dimensions: 5.07(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Henry Beston (1888–1968) wrote many books, including White Pine and Blue Water, Northern Farm, and The St. Lawrence.

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The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
2Horses More than 1 year ago
This simple and beautifully written book takes you through a year of living alone on the beach. A contemplative book, you will slow down to match the pace of simple happenings and get to know Cape Cod in a way few have.
drausche on LibraryThing 8 months ago
very interesting; great discriptions of nature; at times it's difficult to realize that Beston wrote this book back in the 1920's -- especially during references to "living in a world with too many lights" (not an exact quote). I gave the book to my 87 yr old aunt to read at the same time & she was throughly enjoying it too!
Jannes on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not a huge fan of nautre writing, me, but this one had me hooked - at least for most part. There is an earnest passion in the writing that is hard to be indifferent to, and some passages, like the ones about the sound of the sea for instance, is simply magical.It is also surprisingly dramatic, with its descriptions of the harsh conditions on and around Cape Cod, storms, shipwrecks and all.
michaelm42071 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Beston describes a year he spent in a house he had built for him on the dunes above the beach in the middle of the forearm of Cape Cod, near Eastham and the Nauset Coast Guard Station. He calls the house the Fo¿castle, and he goes there in September to spend a couple of weeks, but ends up staying a year. He begins with the beach itself, and then describes the autumn birds migrating through. He spends a chapter on waves and surf. In a chapter called ¿Night on the Great Beach,¿ Beston suggests it was not primitive peoples who were afraid of night and the dark, but we. ¿With lights and ever more lights, we drive the holiness and beauty of night back to the forests and the sea; the little villages, the crossroads even, will have none of it.¿ And he says ¿civilization is full of people . . . who have never even seen night,¿ an amazing observation for a time when there were still dark skies to be found all over the northeast. In this chapter he also describes sand fleas eating phosphorescent protozoa or bacteria on the beach and becoming completely luminous, then dying from the infection.He has some memorable passages, such as this one describing flocks of sandpipers in flight:No aspect of nature on this beach is more mysterious to me than the flights of these shorebird constellations. The constellation forms, as I have hinted, in an instant of time, and in that same instant develops its own will. Birds which have been feeding yards away from each other, each one individually busy for his individual body¿s sake, suddenly fuse into this new volition and, flying, rise as one, coast as one, tilt their dozen bodies as one, and as one wheel off on the course which the new group will has determined. There is no such thing, I may add, as a lead bird or guide.The sight makes him think about how very different animals are from our experience as human beings:We need another and wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. . . . We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.This reminded me of Montaigne in ¿The Defense of Raymond Sebond.¿Though he does some surprisingly inventive things with language (¿luke-cold¿ by analogy with lukewarm, ¿a scatter of houses¿), his style is deceptively simple; for example, he says of the spring migration of geese that he hears but cannot see overhead, ¿a river of life was flowing that night across the sky.¿ The new color that appears on the dunes in spring ¿is a tint of palest olive . . . born of the mingling of pale sand, blanched grass, and new grass spears of a certain eager green.¿ The urgency of spring makes him think of life¿s plenitude: ¿I began to reflect on Nature¿s eagerness to sow life everywhere, to fill the planet with it, to crowd with it the earth, the air, and the seas.¿Beston gives the scientific names of the birds and insects he mentions, and sometimes these have changed since his time: the Barn Swallow for him was Hirundo erythrogastra, the red-belllied swalllow; now he¿s Hirundo rustica, the country swallow. The Bank Swallow is Riparia riparia, doubly of the riverbank. The Common Tern, by the way, is Sterna hirundo, the swallow tern. The Tree Swallow used to be Iridoprocne bicolor, reminding us of the myth of Procne and Philomela, but now is Tachycineta bicolor, a two-colored fast mover. Beston describes the night patrols and the surfmen of the coastal stations. In one chapter he takes a walk across the width of the Cape. The penultimate chapter, ¿The Year
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