Monday, May 28, 2007

In memoriam, Rachel Carson

Born: May 27, 1907
in Springdale, Pennsylvania
Died: April 14, 1964
in Silver Spring, Maryland
Ignoring time and a few kilometers of space, Rachel Carson was a neighbor. She wrote with passion, she wrote with care and caring. She was a naturalist who shared her love with us. As a young boy, Eli absorbed some of her spirit. Although now mostly (and sadly) forgotten, her The Sea Around Us, and The Edge of the Sea capture beauty and introduce science, bringing both to us, or perhaps better said bringing us to both. Read the first paragraph of the Edge of the Sea
The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place. All through the long history of Earth it has been an area of unrest where waves have broken heavily against the land, where the tides have pressed forward over the continents, receded, and then returned. For no two successive days is the shore line precisely the same. Not only do the tides advance and retreat in their eternal rhythms, but the level of the sea itself is never at rest. It rises or falls as the glaciers melt or grow, as the floor of the deep ocean basins shifts under its increasing load of sediments, or as the earth's crust along the continental margins warps up or down in adjustment to strain and tension. Today a little more land may belong to the sea, tomorrow a little less. Always the edge of the sea remains an elusive and indefinable boundary.
The last things she wrote was Helping Your Child to Wonder, on one level a description of introducing "Oceanus" to her nephew Roger, first as an infant and then as a young child, but on a deeper one it explains why and how we grow to the study of nature. From a review at Amazon
By dragonfly333
This book was recommended to me by a friend some years ago. She told me that she had read this book in her youth and it had changed her life. At the time, the book was still out of print, but I managed to find a well-read copy through inter-library loan. After reading it, I can well understand how this little book can transform a person's way of thinking. In a very personal and lyrical remembrance, Rachel Carson shares her vision of the natural world and the wonder it inspires. "A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood,"
When curiosity and awe are joined to an inquiring mind, some cleverness and not a little bit of hard, frustrating but ultimately elating labor, science and understanding result. Rachel Carson provided many from my generation the path

(Linda Lear writes a Rachel Carson web site. Besides providing the picture of Rachel Carson Eli has learned and remembered much else from it).


Marion Delgado said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EliRabett said...

Marion Delgado's comment has been moved onto the main page of Rabett Run as a post. Eli occasionally has a fit of appropriatism, but don't count on it.

William M. Connolley said...

She died 2 days after I was born. Spooky