By William Bryant Logan
The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to lifestyles this fastest, so much maintaining, so much communicative portion of the earth.
Air sustains the residing. each creature breathes to reside, changing and altering the ambience. Water and mud spin and upward push, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part 1000000 micro organism shuttle in a sq. foot of summer time air. The chemical experience of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s wisdom of its mother’s breast―all happen within the medium of air.
lack of know-how of the air is expensive. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. millions have been sickened after September 11 through supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partly simply because we fill the air with business dusts. With the passionate narrative variety and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature fans and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne dirt that Darwin gathered aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations
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Additional info for Air: The Restless Shaper of the World
It penetrates the soil; it mixes in the sea. It can stand human plans on their heads or sweep them out the door like dried leaves. It changes the world. It changes the fate of creatures and the destiny of peoples. The air is a single, moving fluid that stretches from the heavens to the earth. The higher you go in the air, the less there is of it, but it never actually ends. About halfway from the earth to the moon—say, a hundred thousand miles aloft—one molecule of the air may meet another only every week or so, and the solar wind is as likely to send that molecule into interplanetary space as back down toward the earth.
It makes the storms that drown the main street of Schoharie, New York, in twelve feet of water; erode thousands of tons of topsoil; topple buildings; and drive a wheat stalk through a telephone pole in Tell, Texas. The air stirs the pot. It changes its course over the face of the earth, and where once rain fell dependably at a certain season, it suddenly does not fall at all. The Mayan civilization collapses. The T’ang Dynasty in China falls. The Old Kingdom of Egypt is destroyed. Where once southerly winds brought warm air, now northerlies bring arctic air: the Viking colonists of Greenland arrive in 956 but before 1500 they have either died or moved away.
The principal aisle led down to a broader lawn and in it an ancient apple tree, the last of a former orchard. Beyond that lay a house. Side aisles branched off along the main aisle at odd angles, each leading off into the same landscape of scrub islets. I had to carry my trash and bottles through this labyrinth to the road. I had just passed the apple tree and was laboring uphill into the maze when I felt a small concussion near my right ear, like a tiny gust or perhaps the wake of a toy boat. I walked a few more steps, put my burdens down, and felt around my ear.
Air: The Restless Shaper of the World by William Bryant Logan