The Very Rich Hours
Travels in Orkney, Belize, the Everglades, and GreeceBook - 1992
"Poet, writer, artist, and naturalist Emily Hiestand takes us to four far-flung corners of the globe - to Orkney in northernmost Scotland, to the Greek Islands, to Belize (formerly British Honduras), and to the Florida Everglades - and gives us some of the most sensual, learned, and witty writing about place to appear in years." "Unlike male travel writers who tend to chronicle solitary adventures in exotic lands, Hiestand approaches travel as a companionable activity, often a journey toward those we love. "South of the Ultima Thule" tells the story of Hiestand's mother, avid birder and Presbyterian, who wishes to see the Arctic Skuas in the land of her faith. The two set off for Orkney, islands of fierce climate and neolithic ruins, and the journey gives mother and daughter a way to remember what they both hold dear." "Hiestand's writing on the natural world reflects a keenly poetic eye; hers is a rare ability to make the ancient, human history of the land come alive. A houseboat trip on the Everglades Wilderness Waterway with her lover is occasion for a close look at swamp spiders and manatee, and for penetrating speculation on the ancient Calusa people, canoe-borne traders who occupied "a kind of subtropical Venetian world."" "Later, houseboat suddenly snagged, outboard motor whining ineffectively under marl (underwater sediment), radio inoperative, night falling, Hiestand shows her characteristic ability to remain wry in the face of the traveler's blackest moments: "The putrid smell given off by the slurry plume, now tingeing the whole immobile situation, suggests why, since Milton, poets have turned to marl to symbolize the torments of hell."" "Belize for Hiestand is a prelapsarian tropical paradise, yet one haunted by the ultimate ecological mystery: what caused the collapse of the great Maya civilization that once flourished in the rainforests? And Greece comes alive as a land of erotic proposition, as a place where true wealth can be found in a meal taken at a village taverna." "Hiestand is the most personable of travel companions. Or, as Kirkpatrick Sale has it: "If one must travel, one should do it with the eyes of a child, the mind of an ecologist, the heart of a pagan, and the words of a poet. Emily Hiestand, astonishingly, has all of that.""--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, c1992.
Characteristics: xii, 224 p.