cover image The Nature of Spring

The Nature of Spring

Jim Crumley. Saraband, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-912235-37-7

The Scots Magazine columnist Crumley (Lakeland Wild) ruminates on the splendor of springtime in this delightful companion to his previous outings on winter, summer, and fall. He describes visiting sites in northern Scotland during the spring of 2018 and stresses the importance of taking “time to marvel, to relish, to be a fragment of landscape.” Doing so, he suggests, can lead to being awed by the mundane: “If you have never thought there could be beauty in a fly, you need only watch a newly hatched horde of mayflies trekking upstream into the afternoon sunlight above the course of a Highland river with a song in its step.” Relating what he witnessed on nature walks, he serves up Planet Earth–ready anecdotes about ravens pestering a sea eagle, a friendly meeting between a fox and a pine marten, and territorial competition between peregrine falcons and kestrels. The author laments the changes humans have made to the environment, from over-logging and hunting to climate change’s disruption of seasonal patterns. The lyrical prose elevates Crumley’s detailed descriptions of the natural world he encounters, as when he compares the movements of a family of stoats to “spilled mercury.” Readers will be transported by this immersive outing. (Feb.)