30 Days Wild – Day 6 – Light reading

With the weather still pretty unpleasant it seemed worth talking a bit about books, and their value to staying wild and engaging with the natural world.I’ve been reading since before I can remember, always been obsessed with books, with libraries, and with building up my own collection.

I keep extensive reference collections, both for identification purposes and for building the sort of general wildlife knowledge that underpins the stuff I write about in this blog.

A small sample of the reference collection

Most of the books I read are written by academics; specialists and recognised experts in their field. For example, I recently finished Jennifer Ackerman’s excellent book ‘The Genius of Birds’. In fact, most of the books here fit into that category.

But recently I’ve been reading, and greatly enjoying, Peter Wohlleben’s ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. Now, Peter isn’t an expert in the academic sense. He is a lifelong forester, originally for commercial forests and more recently in a more environmentally sustainable fashion.

It’s not that there aren’t plenty of academic references in there, but he is taking a personal and quite anthropocentric view. He paints a picture of trees as living things that feel, communicate, and interact in both positive and negative ways. He writes in short chapters and often poses questions just as much as suggesting (or dictating) answers. It’s a really fascinating read, and ensures the next tree I get up close to, I’ll be thinking about it a different way.

Incidentally, expert really only means ‘experienced’, and it’s impossible to argue a forester of three decades working life isn’t an expert by that measure.

Sorry by the way, I realised days 6-9 were sitting in draft awaiting images adding, so there will be a little flurry of posts today.

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I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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