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? letter from Peter Matthiessen Ilove the quicksilver intuitions, the summoning of wind and light, the variations John Hay plays in his fine responses to the natural world and the life of our surrounding oceans, in particular. We both live on the Northeast coast, and so we delight in many of the same fleeting miracles—the spawning of the small anadromous spring herrings known as alewives, for example, ("These fish were silent messengers of a planetary depth that makes us cry out, or go on voyages") and the deft, swift flight of the superb roseate tern that on my reach of coast nests on Little Gull Island, near the great tideway called the Race. John Hay's intent observations and hard-earned burnished prose are sea marks and inspiration to all honorées of the Orion-John Hay Award, that distinguished recognition of excellence in so-called "nature writing"—an insipid and obsolete term, in my view, which in these days of world environmental crisis, should be replaced by something like "environmental writing," not only in the cause of public education but in evocation and appreciation of the fragile web of life, the whole earth process, ofbiodiversity, of the myriad fleeting splendors to be experienced and understood and fiercely defended. To bear witness, hoping to awaken others to the wonder and beauty of existence—that testimony is a duty and a calling. 147 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2165-2651
Print ISSN
1553-1775
Pages
p. 147
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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