Salt Marsh Diary: A Year on the Connecticut Coast

Mark Seth Lender, St. Martin's, $19.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-312-65601-0
Lender, a Connecticut columnist and contributor to the radio show, Living on Earth, lives by a salt marsh, and to him, "salt marsh" mostly means "birds." Witnessing marsh life from spring to spring, this slender book contains short essays that verge on prose poems, so much so that some of them end, sonnetlike, in rhyming couplets: "is it a sign of satisfaction or indifference to the way things taste? I only know in Nature nothing goes to waste." Lender is equally attentive to the common and the rare: the crow and red-winged blackbird; the great blue herons beloved of salt marsh aficionados; a rare indigo bunting; osprey and downy woodpecker; a flock of robins skidding on icy spring snow, gobbling privet berries. Attempts at humorous anthropomorphizing fall a little flat, but Lender's direct observations are compelling: "Her long bill... exploits a fact of nature: Water of its own accord will rise up the sides of a narrow straw—or the long phalaropean bill of Yellowlegs feeding." These miniatures convey the subtly changing flora, fauna, and waterscape of the marsh and the exultant pleasure and melancholy of an observer who appreciates its fragility. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4299-8702-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-5366-4520-0
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