Sunday 20 October 2019
The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley
Jim Crumley is a prolific author of natural history books (you can read my review of The Nature of Winter here).
This book is a meditation on what autumn means to the author, it doesn't try to give an overview of autumn or look in any detail about the specific events of autumn in the UK. Rather Crumley spends September to November taking the reader round the hills, lochs and coasts of Scotland and observing nature.
There are some wonderful pieces of description here. He recounts with detail wildlife encounters such as an encounter with a hunting sparrowhawk; a moment when he was surrounded by a flock of long tailed tits, and an entertaining argument between a herring gull and two ravens over a piece of fish:
'one of (the ravens) moved towards the gulls tail in a series of small, sideways hops, a few furtive steps at a time, carefully out of range. The gull was disconcerted, curved its body towards its tail and snapped at the raven. In the two seconds that manoeuver occupied, the first raven darted in, speared a mouthful of fish and jumped backwards.'
The encounter ended with the gull being totally defeated and the ravens winning most of the fish.
Crumley offers some useful insights into how to watch nature and how to best approach writing about nature. He tends too often to mention other books he has written, but is generally an interesting writer and readers will find themselves enjoying the atmosphere of the season.
The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley, published by Saraband (2016)