John Hay has been acclaimed as one of the most significant contemporary nature writers and environmentalists. In Mind the Gap, which is at once an autobiographic memoir and a passionate commentary on our place in the natural world, he retraces the paths that led him to this career and explores the literary and environmental influences that shaped ...
John Hay has been acclaimed as one of the most significant contemporary nature writers and environmentalists. In Mind the Gap, which is at once an autobiographic memoir and a passionate commentary on our place in the natural world, he retraces the paths that led him to this career and explores the literary and environmental influences that shaped his interest in nature. Much of the book, available now for the first time in paperback, deals with his life in a small rural community on Cape Cod, addressing such subjects as the annual herring spawn, resident and migratory birds, local wildlife, his human neighbors, and the complex rhythms of life in this region of plunging winds and vast seas. Hay's vivid, closely observed descriptions of his surroundings elegantly support his insightful comments on nature and our intricate relationship to it. He warns us that "in setting ourselves apart from the rest of living creatures, we fall victim to our own ice-bound conceit. It is only in sharing that we know anything at all." Hay shares his knowledge generously, and as readers we are thereby vastly enriched.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-09-20 Noted conservationist and nature writer Hay's latest book is rather like a lovely walk in the park with a wise, aging relative-a brief, meditative and occasionally rambling trip that delights and heightens the senses. The son of a well-to-do New York family (his grandfather was Abraham Lincoln's personal secretary), Hay attended boarding schools (where daydreaming earned him the nickname Foggy John), summered in New Hampshire with his family and poked around in the American Museum of Natural History, where his father was a curator. His interest in the natural world, as well as his desire to become a writer, developed slowly but surely. He attended Harvard, became a student and friend of Conrad Aiken and served in WWII. In the more focused and moving second half of the book, Hay turns to his relationship with his adopted environment, Cape Cod, where he and his wife moved to a small plot of land after his discharge from the army. Hay muses on the windswept landscape and its solitary inhabitants, and delights in his interaction with the natural world: "When the sun rolls in over the horizon it shines over the universal society of life without discrimination." Lucid, lithe prose conveys that pleasure well and poignantly considers both nature's eternal power and its vulnerability to human intrusion. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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