David and Henry David, Linked Across the Centuries

categories: Cocktail Hour

1 comment

Henry David Gessner

Eve Holland, a writer living in Yukon Territories, has it right about our Dave in her article for the environmental website Pacific Standard. 

If there’s a clear-cut contemporary descendant of Thoreau, Muir, and Abbey it might be David Gessner. In his 2001 book, Return of the Osprey: A Season of Flight and Wonder, Gessner spent a full six-month nesting season observing the ospreys of Cape Cod. The birds had only recently returned to the Cape after a decades-long hiatus, and their arrival parallels Gessner’s own return to his childhood home, where he’d grown up in the birds’ absence. But while John Muir fought to preserve a threatened wilderness and Abbey raged at the decline of another, Return of the Osprey manages to convey optimism and a sense of hope—for the birds, and for all of us yearning to disappear into the wild. “I understand that it’s a fallacy to see nature as a kind of self-help guide for humans,” he writes of the osprey’s successful return to an increasingly suburban Cape Cod, “but there may be a lesson here. Perhaps we, too, can retain some of our wildness while living in this increasingly cluttered, concrete world.”

Dave won’t toot his own horn, so I’m doing it for him!

  1. Dave writes:

    Bill, As you know, I toot my own horn plenty. But always happier to have you tooting!