cover image Early Spring: An Ecologist and Her Children Wake to a Warming World

Early Spring: An Ecologist and Her Children Wake to a Warming World

Amy Seidl, Author, Bill McKibben, Foreword by , foreword by Bill McKibben. Beacon $24.95 (172p) ISBN 978-0-8070-8584-4

In this intimate reflection, Seidl, an ecologist, records her observations of life and ecology in the wooded Vermont hollow where she lives, depicting how human, animal and plant life is changing as the weather becomes warmer and less predictable. At Christmas, people are canoeing rather than skating; daffodils push through the ground in January; outbreaks of tent caterpillars, historically limited by winter deep freezes, stress the sugar bush. An ice-fishing derby “is cancelled more times than it is run. They can't depend on the ice... to hold up.” Seidl's tender descriptions of her young daughters' encounters with the natural world—skipping rocks, choosing Halloween pumpkins from the garden and “gorging on the abundance” of cherries picked off the tree—add personal poignancy to a subject “few can stand to talk about at any length.” Walking the woods with her husband and children on a Sunday morning, Seidl muses on “the scale of life itself... its infinite unfolding, and how... present joy is a reflection of deep time,” suggesting that, to avoid mass extinction, we “evolve a new set of values... consonant with ecocentrism.” (Mar.)