The Forest Unseen
The Forest Unseen A Year's Watch in Nature By Haskell, David George Book - 2012

This book is a fascinating, enchanting, and joyful way to learn about nature. And our place in it.

Haskell randomly selected a square meter of old-growth forest in Tennessee and spent a year observing it. Hundreds of hours of silently sitting: watching, listening, smelling, and musing. Trying to discover what he might notice by slowing down and really focusing. And producing this series of meditative essays about the process, capturing through his scientific lens the poetic wonder of his experience.

His reflections are prompted by a wide multitude of different lifeforms he encountered: snails, newts, mosquitoes, ticks, flowers, trees, fungi, bacteria, mice, raccoons, birds, coyotes, wolves, deer, the distant sound of a chainsaw, and much, much more. He considers none of them in isolation, for the largest theme underlying every thought is the interconnectedness of all life. Cooperation and competition. Evolution and change. And how dynamic and interdependent everything is. Even humans.

He offers a far-ranging, intertwining mix of perceptive description, scientific detail, insight, and wisdom. Moralizing is minimal, though a deep appreciation of nature is taken for granted. Emphasized throughout are the complexity and fundamentally relational nature of life. His words echo that form, simultaneously free-flowing and piercing, creating clear images that are a delight to read. The Forest Unseen is an immensely enjoyable book.

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