Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Ramble - Dawn Light

Dawn Light: Dancing With Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day
Diane Ackerman
W.W. Norton & Co. (September 1, 2009
ISBN-10: 0393061736
ISBN-13: 978-0393061734

This week's ramble is a brief ode to a brand new and truly incandescent book by Diane Ackerman, one of my favorite writers on realms wild and untrodden, both earthy and cosmic. A gift copy came my way a few weeks ago, and I have been tucking it into my big old carpet bag and taking it with me wherever I go. I've been reading Ackerman's poetry and nature essays for years, and my hardcover copies of her work are very tattered, well traveled and much loved.

The Washington Post called Diane " artist who sketches with tender words the small miracles of a vast universe", and I can do no better. This is a whole volume of what BookList calls "small astonishments and secular hallelujahs". There were lovely "aha" moments all the way through the first reading, and I keep finding others as I dip into the book again at home, in hospital and clinic waiting rooms.

Ackerman calls herself an ‘earth ecstatic’ and her creation is a rhapsodic book of hours, a lyrical volume focused on the glorious hours before dawn when stars paint the waning darkness and cloud glories at sunrise are just a glowing possibility. As a lifelong devotee of the liminal, I adored every single word and drank them all in like nectar. Oh to be able to write like this!

Dawn is also a metaphor for enlightenment, mindfulness and conscious awareness, and this is a lovely poetic work on being mindful, on waking up to the moments of our lives and savoring them as they come into being, dance in the light and then pass fluidly away.

This is a book to be treasured. Read, learn, be astonished, be inspired...


Delphyne said...

I remember the Nova series, Mystery of the Senses, and how much I loved it. Thanks helping me put 2 and 2 together to realize she was the author! I'm going to order some of her books because of you.

Shell said...

I read her book on A Natural history of the senses and A Natural history of love. Both wonderful books.
Thank you for sharing her latest book. I'm going to go and put on hold at my local library.

WoodSong said...

hi Cate, I'm always so amazed by how very much we have in common. This too is one of my most favorite reads for the reasons you mention. I own all of Dianes books, and she's truly a treasure.
Your words and pictures never fail to move me in some way, and I want to thank you for putting into words what I so often feel myself, but struggle with words to describe. Your words and photos both come from such a sacred place, and you write from your heart, as Diane does. I've meant to send you an email many times, and one of these days I'll do just that. Good journeys to you,

marigold said...

I echo everything that Woodsong writes... With all blessings for all our journeys, for you and your loved ones...

bev said...

Thanks for posting such a wonderful review, Cate. I've always enjoyed reading her books and didn't know about this new work.