Saturday, October 8, 2011
A 110 Year Old Book- "Fowls of the Air" by William Long
I have owned this book since I was eight years old. And I have carried it with me from place to place for over 50 years. It is not unspoiled, for I colored some of the pictures. But it brings back the days of my childhood. I grew up a free child, free to wander the woods and swamps. To watch birds, and catch polliwogs. My mother did not fear for me even after I wandered away at the age of three, and the police found me at a house up the street. People worried about nuclear war back then. They did not see child molesters behind every bush. And parents found books such as William Long's "Fowls of the Air" in old book stores and gave them to their children so the children could learn bird lore and the old Indian names. Ch'geegee-lokh-sis was the chickadee. Hukweem, the Night Voice, was the Common Loon. And the book is full of beautiful black and white illustrations. A lone man in a canoe on a misty northern lake startles the loon. A Snowy Owl on an icy salt creek. Do children read books like this anymore? Or is their idea of the natural world the place they see in a Disney animation? How sad for us. How sad for them.