More than dolphins

A review of ‘Spring’ edited by Melissa Harrison

Years ago, when personal computers were a relatively new addition to our homes, it used to make me smile that people would often set swimming dolphins as their screensaver. It was as if our conscience at turning our backs on nature to plunge into pixels could be salved by a nod to the natural world. It was probably nothing of the sort, of course – but it made me think. There is no doubting that many are experiencing a disconnect with the natural world. The world beyond our homes or outside our towns and cities has become what Robert MacFarlane would refer to as a ‘blandscape’ – an amorphous dimension about which we know less and less.

I am convinced that Melissa Harrison’s anthology will do more to address that ignorance than any hefty tome or breathily narrated documentary.  Everything about this book, from Lynn Tatzius’ gorgeous cover, to the rich cream of the pages, to the meticulously selected content is an invitation. It is an invitation to taste the Spring in the air, to hear the grasses grow, to lose your self in a vast sky or to watch the farmers at work.

Everything is brimming with possibility. Everything is pointing forward to what is to come. And isn’t that the way with Spring?

Isn’t it just? The book comprises short chapters, carefully selected from many eras, styles and pens. Here you can find everything from the observations of a nineteenth century clergyman to the work of aspiring 21st century writers. The book, like a sparkling Spring stream swollen with meltwater, is just begging for you to dip in.

Like my breakfast mug says below, often I would rather be cycling – but I would rather do it after reading this book, so as I savour the ride that little bit more!

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