cover image Moods of the Ohio Moons: An Outdoorsman's Almanac

Moods of the Ohio Moons: An Outdoorsman's Almanac

Merrill C. Gilfillan. Kent State University Press, $22 (152pp) ISBN 978-0-87338-436-0

Here is an intriguing concept for a book--understanding nature by observing the rhythms of the moon--that never quite lives up to its promise. The volume has the choppy, shorthand quality of a personal journal and the author's penchant for aphoristic comments does not help: 37 ``Any boy who has ever fished on a spring day knows more about hope and high expectations than one who has never enjoyed this experience.'' This clumsy didacticism undermines the author's goal of exhorting readers to remember their own experiences of nature and pass on a sense of wonder and respect to future generations. More effective are his descriptions of the seasonal behavior of animals and birds, such as a family of cedar waxwings that picks cherries in June ``in a gentle, polite ceremonyp. 63 ''; and of human activities such as gathering wild morels and cutting the bark of the sassafras tree to make tea. Contemplations of the origin of terms like swan song 27 and the meaning of deja vu, though interesting, are too digressive to be satisfying. The reader wishes for a stronger editorial touch, particularly if one has read Gilfillan's lyrical Magpie Rising: Sketches from the Great Plains . Illustrations not seen by PW. (July)