This review, and also this book, will only appeal to those science-y and outdoorsy people reading. But to those people, I have three words to say: BUY THIS BOOK.
I didn’t. I was given this book by my old Graduate advisor for my graduation gift. He inscribed it, I cried, and then I put it on my bookshelf and forgot about it for a coupe months. But last week, after spending time talking about a different “old naturalist” from Wisconsin, I pulled this book of my shelf and read it in mere days.
Aldo Leopold and Ed Ricketts were both born in the midwest and both developed somewhat similar views towards nature and ecology at a time when people weren’t thinking about nature and ecology hadn’t even been defined. While Aldo was a quiet reserved scholarly type who lived in rural Wisconsin, Ed was a loud, drunk, fun-loving guy who lived in Monterey Bay and partied with John Steinbeck. Both men made huge advances in their fields through their committment to what they loved – nature.
The book explores the things about their lives that link them together and those that set them apart. In the end, the book is about their spirit, which is the last chapter of the book. The part I read while vigorously nodding my head along. The part I read thinking “YES! This is me! This is why I am doing what I am doing where I am doing it!”
The spirit of Leopold and Ricketts….is found in the field trip – a professor driving a chatty can full of eager students. This spirit is deep in the graduate student who, with ruler and notebook in hand and soaked to the skin in the middle of a driving spring squall, says, “I’d still rather be doing this than sitting in front of my laptop.”
Amen to that.