By William Bryant Logan
The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to existence this fastest, such a lot maintaining, such a lot communicative part of the earth.
Air sustains the dwelling. each creature breathes to reside, replacing and altering the ambience. Water and dirt spin and upward thrust, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part one million micro organism commute in a sq. foot of summer season air. The chemical experience of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s wisdom of its mother’s breast―all ensue within the medium of air.
lack of knowledge of the air is expensive. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. hundreds of thousands have been sickened after Sep 11 by means of supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partially simply because we fill the air with business dusts. With the passionate narrative kind and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature enthusiasts and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne airborne dirt and dust that Darwin amassed aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations
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They are matters that envelop us. The air is the archetype of such a mystery. In this book, I propose that we get to know it not only as a problem, but also as a wonder. We will discover the air by means of what happens in it and through it. The air is never empty, although mostly it seems to be. Floating invisible through it are gases, dust, fungi and bacteria, pollen, and liquid and solid particles called aerosols. Unseen though they may be, each plays its part in the concert of the world. Some decay the dead, some make rain fall and bring increase, some promote health or seed disease.
All told, there must have been three dozen at the least. All were flying swift, indescribable patterns. The red sumac flowers at eight to twelve feet up appeared to be one terminus; the yellow goldenrod flowers at about three feet high another. The apple tree marked one boundary; the edge where the lawn gave way to woods another. They went no higher than the highest sumac staghorns, above which a bird might have snagged them. They brushed the grass at the bottom. Sometimes they seemed to be chasing one another.
The squall line—or as acronym-loving weatherpeople call it, a QLCS or Quasi-Linear Convective System—was emphatically holding together. As it crossed northern New Jersey, the radar showed increasingly frequent lighting strikes, represented as white streaks on the screen. From one or two scattered across the screen, the streaks had multiplied, like the arrival of a flock of starlings, until they were practically obscuring the colored images of the moving clouds. He called up the SkewT diagram with the latest data gathered from planes taking off and landing at Newark airport.
Air: The Restless Shaper of the World by William Bryant Logan