Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Friend

Seabloom, Robert. (2011).  Mammals of North Dakota.  Fargo, ND:  Institute for Regional Studies. North Dakota State University.

Yes, it is true that this is a posting on a book about mammals in North Dakota.  And yes it is also true that this little blog focuses on our adventures right here on Butterfly Hill Farm, which is a long ways from North Dakota. Sometimes I make exceptions for my own very good reasons, she says with a smile.

Bob Seabloom sent us this book and we are just thrilled.  Bob is a former colleague of Richard's in the Department of Biology at the University of North Dakota.  He, Nikki, and their sons are long time cherished friends from our many shared adventures in the North Country.

This book, to me, represents a "life's work".  There is no way that it could not be written without considerable experience gathered over a life time and considerable love for those things wild.

Such a work is best done in community, which exemplifies Bob's work.  Scanning the pages bears witness to the many people who have contributed too.  Many of those names are quite familiar to us and we smile.

As I age, I am always amazed to see how those many experiences over the course of a lifetime culminate in "life work". All the while, we travel our paths sometimes exalting in stellar moments and other times finding only the dark of a long and vast tunnel which seems will never end.  But we just keep going for reasons we cannot always know.  And then, right in our hands, we find a book or other work which makes meaning of it all.

Richard thinks that at least half of the mammals in the book are also found in these parts.  I wonder if Bob would have some thoughts on that. We will be reading some in his book to get to know our critters here.  And we will be reading more to remember our companions up North too.  It's probably time to get out Schwartz's book on mammals of Missouri which was first printed in the 1950s.  There have been many times that I have wanted to talk to Bob or someone who knows the creatures.  It isn't as easy to call or pop into his office these days, but we now have these wonderful references to guide our journeys of knowing more about those 4-leggeds with whom we share the land.

I was delighted also to see that Bob lists names of the animals in the languages of the Indigenous Peoples of that region.

What a contribution, Bob (Nikki too).  Thank you for this extraordinary gift!

No comments: