In the tradition of Blue Highways and Silent Spring, Chasing Spring follows nature's season of renewal even as it shows how the delicate mechanisms of spring are increasingly endangered by climate change.
Seeking to revive his body and soul following heart surgery, acclaimed nature writer Bruce Stutz set out on a three-month journey through the unfolding of an American spring. Driving across the country in a twenty-year-old Chevy sedan, Stutz shows readers that spring is not so much a progression as an arousal; each added minute of the lengthening days and lingering sun brings yet another transformation in the greening landscape as well as in the human spirit.
Beginning with the season's southernmost stirrings along the Gulf of Mexico, Stutz sees the first blooms and partakes in the season's festivals -- celebrations with ancient origins that still speak to our wonder at nature's annual rebirth. He follows the migrations of birds northward, the return of life to the forests, and the quickening of snowmelt in the Rockies. He moves across the southern desert, encountering the explosion of cacti and wildflowers and the violence of tornadoes on the drought-stricken Great Plains. He then travels north through the national parks of the West, finally celebrating his journey's end by basking at the solstice amid the beauty of the Alaskan Arctic's twenty-four hours of daylight.
Along the way, he accompanies scientists into the field to study the season's changes and meets farmers, Arctic natives, and even migrant mushroom pickers whose livelihoods depend on the coming of spring. In each location, as he observes the sensitive interplay of light and warmth that draws animals, plants, water, and even the soil itself into the biological ballet that makes for the profound stirring we call spring, he also finds that climate change now threatens the basic pro-cesses of nature. A moving and thought-provoking record of the year¹s most invigorating season, Chasing Spring is a timely reminder that as trees bud and flowers bloom, the human spirit reawakens as well. Anyone who has ever marveled at spring¹s wondrous transformations from a first garden blossom to a world in full flower will find in Chasing Spring a journey to savor.read more
Bruce Stutz is a 56 year old Jewish naturalist writer from Brooklyn who after a heart-valve surgery decides to drive across the USA following the progress of Spring, moving generally from south to north (map of route included). I was drawn to this because I have driven across the USA on solo trips with no particular itinerary just exploring and was interested in traveling with a like-minded soul and seeing it from another perspective. Some of the highlites of the trip include small town mardi gras celebrations in Louisiana, the Punxsutawney Phil groundhog day, a tour of the now-defunct Biosphere and its lone remaining tour-guide/guard, hiking the deserts of AZ, the sandhills of Nebraska underneath which lies the largest aquafier of water in North America, difficult climbing in the mountains near Denver, birding on the salt flats, mushroom picking in the OR Cascade Mountains with Asian pickers (a fascinating and new phenomenon to me), flying into the ANWAR in Alaska with bush pilots.Throughout Stutz emphasis es the nature of change not only of the season into Spring, but of the changing weather and climate of the planet and how this is effecting the natural world visably today. Never preachy, it is a gentle and beautiful road-trip in a gas-guzzling 1983 Chevy, appropriately nick-named "Moby Dick" for its large "whale" of a size, white color, and for anyone who has read the novel, a metaphor for the elements of life that are out of our control. A book well worth reading for anyone interested in travel, nature, a changing world and the promise of Spring around the corner on a winters evening.read more
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With mortality on his mind after serious heart surgery, Stutz, former editor-in-chief of Natural History magazine, needed physical and emotional renewal. He found both during the odyssey chronicled in this loquacious account of "seeing spring in various phases." For three months starting in March and ending in June-all the while exulting in the energy of spring, in its lengthening days and blossoming landscapes-he traveled east to west and south to north in a 20-year-old Chevy Impala sedan stuffed with camping gear. Stutz tracked salamanders and frogs across reawakening forest floors, watched cacti bloom in the Arizona desert, followed birds as they migrated northward, harvested morels in Montana and Oregon, and capped his restorative, philosophical trek by hiking through Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the bright 24-hour solstice days that herald the transition of spring into summer. Along the way, the author expresses concerns: climate change means that spring is arriving as much as a week earlier across the continent, disrupting migration patterns, and most of the world's midlatitude glaciers are melting with unanticipated speed. Spring remains the season of rebirth, says Stutz-but his amiable report cautions readers to "see it now, because it's changing." (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved