Saturday, November 3, 2012

low to the ground

pond, Plymouth Massachusetts

Thinking about Rachel Carson, biologist, ecologist and writer, mother of the modern environmental protection movement--this year is the 50th anniversary of her book Silent Spring. Silent Spring fostered an awareness of ecology in the general public when she wrote that pesticides not only poisoned bugs, but made their way up the food chain to birds, fish, water, and eventually people.

tree roots, Andes New York

She wrote several other booksThe Sense of Wonder was written as a magazine article called Help Your Child To Wonder, and turned into a book after her death.

Atlantic Ocean, South Carolina

I included a favorite quote from The Edge of the Sea, in an earlier post, here.

wildflower, Andes New York

My own sense of wonder started in preschool, when I was allowed to wander with my dog, through the woods near our Virginia house. I was low to the ground, and have vivid memories of May apples, autumn leaves, and tree trunks.

Sky and ocean, Hull Massachusetts

There have been many tributes to Rachel Carson this year. This one from Orion is my favorite, and here from the New York Times is also very good.

Trees, Taos New Mexico

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” 

                             ---Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

I have been preoccupied with Sandy this week, as well as a new work project, but am going to get outside and rake leaves today, enjoy autumn  in New England. I hope that you are having a lovely weekend.



  1. Rachel Carson combines wisdom, knowledge, and beautiful writing in her books. It is a great shame that she died prematurely.

    I often find references to her in other writers, indicating the profound effect she had on her times. Most of them involve Silent Spring, but she had made a deep impression even before that, with her oceanography books.
    --Road to Parnassus

    1. It's hard to overstate the impact and influence she has had.

  2. Dear Jen,
    This was fascinating reading about Rachel Carson. I do not know of the book or any of her readings.. One thing I do know.. I remember my mother complaining about the use of DDT. She was very against it. As a child she told was used to spray around to kill the insects(and germs they were told).. i even remember the funny type of spray pump that the stuff was used in.
    What a very brave woman. She certainly stirred things up, even with her bad health.
    Still today though.. insecticides are used. My olives are organic.. but there are farmers and producers who still put products on their crops.
    Thank you so much ..such an interesting post.

    1. She isn't really a common name--not as much as she should be! It's crazy how common dangerous pesticides used to be--thank goodness there's so much awareness now.

  3. The books Rachel wrote sound interesting. Her name does not ring any bells to me, but I will check her out on Amazon.

    Wish you a lovely weekend!

    madelief x

    1. If you are interested in learning more about her check out the links I put under the sky and ocean picture.

  4. It often seems that it is useless to protest the poisoning of the earth and actually, all of us. Just yesterday I came home to a terrible toxic odor and when I complained to the management I was told first of all that no one else had complained and besides that it was only to kill the weeds. Well, they must have forgotten to dilute it, or something. The point is it seems our society has gotten to where they readily accept pesticides and other toxins. And then they have the audacity to ask why is there so much cancer. Ah well. Hooray for Rachel Carson and others like her.

    1. I much genuine progress has been made, but there's still much to do. Too many people still have a lack of awareness about pesticides, or maybe they just don't care. It drives me crazy when people use chemicals to keep their lawn green.

  5. Hi Jen,

    I did think Rachel Carson was a household name. I guess only to us, the older generations. Time magazine had a nice tribute to her a while back. On these 66 Idaho acres we don't use pesticides or herbicides any longer. I am obsessed with getting rid of mullen (it likes disturbed ground) and have spent the last few years pulling it up or cutting off its seed pods in autumn. Good excercise, I call it.

    1. It's generational and also I don't think people outside of this country have much awareness of her. There have been many tributes to her this year, which I am glad to see.

  6. You depict the beauty of nature with words and photos here.They are so beautiful and hopeful. Thank you for them.
    Have a good week, Jen.

  7. Hello Jen:
    The words of Rachel Carson are indeed beautiful sentiments and so perfectly fit the times in which we live where Nature in all its forms is so often disregarded until its power is felt in the most terrible of ways.

    We hope that your week will be fruitful and that those in distress may find peace.

    1. Her perceptions were acute and interesting, and she was able to translate her scientific knowledge into laymen's terms--such a gift.

      Nature...Before Sandy I was thinking how much I love storms, how exciting they are-- that weather is one of the few things in the world we can't control. But I certainly didn't expect it to be so extreme.

      Thank you for your good wishes!

  8. Hello Jen

    Rachel Carson's wisdom at least was heard on some levels.

    It has been a very sad week indeed, following Sandy's destruction.
    Glad you are well

    Helen xx

  9. I remember Jen, that although I grew up in a big city my mom always managed to take us out to green areas, so aften that I really thought Athens was a pretty green city! I am thankful to her for this. And for teaching us not to through garbage on the ground.

  10. What a peaceful, beautiful tribute...

  11. How nice you could think abut raking leaves on a Sunday and not be battening down the hatches as we were last week.

    Mother nature is pissed. I don't blame her.

    xo Jane