Air: The Restless Shaper of the World by William Bryant Logan

By William Bryant Logan

The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to existence this fastest, such a lot maintaining, such a lot communicative component of the earth.

Air sustains the dwelling. each creature breathes to stay, changing and altering the ambience. Water and mud spin and upward push, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the airborne dirt and dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part 1000000 micro organism commute in a sq. foot of summer season air. The chemical feel of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s understanding of its mother’s breast―all happen within the medium of air.

lack of understanding of the air is dear. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. millions have been sickened after Sep 11 via supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partially simply because we fill the air with commercial dusts. With the passionate narrative variety and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature enthusiasts and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne dirt that Darwin amassed aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations

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The tops of trees broke from their trunks. In Forest Hills, whole rows of eighty-foot-tall trees were toppled. They were spread over the ground in the shape of the macroburst arc. But Smith was staring at the Doppler radar coming out of Kennedy airport. Again, he had the green stream and the red stream running into one another, only this time the red turned yellow and then orange. Color indicates wind speed. The orange represented winds at eighty to one hundred knots. Another tornado, and a stronger one.

They brushed the grass at the bottom. Sometimes they seemed to be chasing one another. Often, they seemed to be chasing the air itself. They did not fly in elegant arabesques so much as in twisting angles. They turned as swiftly and as steeply as you can flex a finger or a wrist. One moment, they were going in one direction, the next they had pivoted anywhere from 90 to 180 degrees, as though they had come to a turn in some invisible tunnel in the air. ) One touched a sumac flower and pivoted. Another lit briefly on a goldenrod.

I am grateful for my space in the Wertheim Study, and in particular to librarian Jay Barksdale. It was a very great pleasure to work with my editor, Alane Salierno Mason, whose sensitive, intelligent editing and questions have become an important part of my writing process. Her assistant, Denise Scarfi, patiently fielded endless questions about illustrations, forms, and deadlines with grace and good humor, despite my tardiness and occasional hysteria. So many friends have helped me with their reflections both directly and indirectly on the subject matter of this book.

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