The Sense of Wonder|
by Rachel Carson (Author)
Not long before she died in 1964, the noted environmental writer Rachel Carson
wrote an essay for Woman's Home Companion magazine called "Helping Your Child to
Wonder." In that essay--reprinted here, with photographs of natural subjects by
Nick Kelsh--Carson urged parents to take their children to wild places in order
to introduce them to the astonishing variety of life that exists all around us:
to study birds, listen to the winds, and observe the stars. Too much of the
child's subsequent education, she warns, will be devoted to dimming that
"clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring"
with which children are born; it is the parent's task to be an adult guide who
can in turn rediscover the "excitement and mystery of the world we live in."
Carson's words are timely, and this beautifully illustrated edition makes a fine
gift for new and prospective mothers and fathers.
First published more than three decades ago, this reissue of Rachel Carson's
award-winning classic brings her unique vision to a new generation of readers.
Stunning new photographs by Nick Kelsh beautifully complement Carson's intimate
account of adventures with her young nephew, Roger, as they enjoy walks along
the rocky coast of Maine and through dense forests and open fields, observing
wildlife, strange plants, moonlight and storm clouds, and listening to the
"living music" of insects in the underbrush.
"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder." Writes Carson, "he
needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering
with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." The Sense of
Wonder is a refreshing antidote to indifference and a guide to capturing the
simple power of discovery that Carson views as essential to life.
In her insightful new introduction, Linda Lear remembers Rachel Carson's
groundbreaking achievements in the context of the legendary environmentalist's
personal commitment to introducing young and old to the miracles of nature.
Kelsh's lush photographs inspire sensual, tactile reactions: masses of leaves
floating in a puddle are just waiting to be scooped up and examined more
closely. An image of a narrow path through the trees evokes the earthy scent of
the woods after a summer rain. Close-ups of mosses and miniature lichen
fantasy-lands will spark innocent'as well as more jaded'imaginations. Like a
curious child studying things underfoot and within reach, Kelsh's camera is
drawn to patterns in nature that too often elude hurried adults'a stand of beech
trees in the springtime, patches of melting snow and the ripples from a pebble
tossed into a slow-moving stream.
The Sense of Wonder is a timeless volume that will be passed on from children to
grandchildren, as treasured as the memory of an early-morning walk when the song
of a whippoorwill was heard as if for the first time.
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (April 21, 1998)