Subtitle: A Year’s Watch in Nature
Genre: nonfiction science
Length: 245 pages of story, 268 pages total
Setting: a forest in South Carolina, present day
Interest: I saw it reviewed on a science blog as some great science writing. I’m always on the lookout for good science books, so on the list it went.
Summary: The author has chosen a 1m square patch of old growth forest to observe over the course of a year. Every week or so, he heads out to his mandala to see what he can see. Every time out, he focuses on a different component of the mandala, from the leaves on the ground and all the organisms in them to the tops of the trees. He often brings a hand lens to study the smallest organisms and offers tidbits of natural history among the descriptions.
Final thoughts: A delightful, lyrical science book, although I found his use of the word “mandala” to be rather jarring. Everything else was so straightforward scientific (although with beautiful descriptions of everything), and mandala felt so hippy-dippy spiritual to me. It just didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the book, in my opinion. I found the idea of revisiting the same place over and over made the story much more interesting than if he’d gone to different places throughout the year. I learned several interesting bits of information and looked forward to figuring out what the next chapter would be about. Overall, a highly enjoyable, easy read.
Title comes from: The author was making an effort to focus on the parts of the forest that usually aren’t noticed, hence, the forest unseen.
Reading challenges fulfilled: #38 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge
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