web analytics

Categorized | Outdoors

Winter reading

By Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Snuggling with a good book helps one savor long winter nights with pleasure. There are significant natural history books I read during my development. I stumbled upon books beyond those required for professional education. Each of us has personal interests for subjects but some books transcend specific content with broader ideas about our relationship with nature niches that support us physically and emotionally. Books from times past can be inexpensively found online or in libraries.

I became interested in sharing natural history through stories and writing by the time I was 20. I wrote little at that time and thought I might find time to write during retirement years. I wrote a short piece about what I observed while following a pheasant’s tracks in the snow. When I showed it to a college professor that wrote a nature column, she requested to publish it in her weekly column.

Later in graduate school in northern Minnesota, I was invited to speak. After my program, a literature professor, Dr. Saur, provided me with one of the better compliments of my life. He said I reminded him of a young Sigurd Olsen. I had read several of Olsen’s books about experiences in the north woods wilderness. Perhaps the “The Singing Wilderness” and “Listening Point” are my favorites where Olsen reveals the magic and mystery of wilderness experiences.

For readers desiring details of life, John Bardach’s book, “Downstream,” describes the life of species found from a stream’s headwaters to its mouth emptying into the ocean. It is an enlightening natural history of stream and river life addressing how human activity impacts the quality of life for people and nature.

“The Desert Year,” by Joseph Wood Krutch, will take you to the dry warm desert if you feel like escaping our cold weather. It is a most delightful introduction to the marvels of life able to survive in dry habitats. This author is one of my favorites. One Christmas I thought I would would tell him how much I appreciated his writing. I called and heard happy family voices. I asked to speak to Joseph. The women said who is this? I told her they would not know me but I wanted to tell Joseph how much I enjoyed his work. She said you wouldn’t know this but he has been dead for 10 years. I told her I hoped my call would give Christmas joy regarding appreciation for her husband’s work.

I read few novels because excellent nonfiction books keep me occupied but fiction stories with accurate natural history descriptions allow an author to create images of events that occur daily. “Those of the Forest,” by Wallace Byron Grange, is the story of Snowshoe, a hare, that everyone should meet.

For short spurts of reading, “Sisters of the Earth” is a collection of women’s prose. I have marked the table of contents with checks and stars for those to reread over and over again. I cannot read something once and absorb it all. Whether it is a good movie, book, or short story, I revisit for full enjoyment to garner new details or to just feel the joy of words rippling under my skin.

Emotional connections with places, experiences, and creatures captivate us. We relate through wishful desire and hunger for ancient roots lingering in our souls. Authors take us to places we want to go but do not know how to get there on our own. Helen Hoover’s “The Gift of the Deer” is a wonderful account of her experiences with deer that lived near her north woods home.

Invite me for an entertaining evening of story telling for your nature interested group, club, business, church, school, or even for a family and friends campfire. I have a variety of programs tailored for heart, soul, and mind. Contact me to receive an e-mail program brochure or to discuss tailored presentations.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

This post was written by:

- who has written 19598 posts on Cedar Springs Post Newspaper.

Contact the author

Comments are closed.



Get Your Copy of The Cedar Springs Post for just $40 a year!