29 January 2008

A truly awesome topic

I have 4 amazing grown children. For immediate purposes, their excellent qualities are exhibited in their extraordinary gift-giving. As a parent, one endures a stretch when it seems a child will never "get" altruistic giving. When giving and receiving are somehow mixed together or otherwise confused. But now with 4 adult children, all in their 20's, it is fun to see how well they choose gifts for one another.

And I have to say, how completely delightful it is to receive gifts from them! Some dad, huh?

Youngest son, Andrew, ROTC student in his 4th year at U. of I., gave me The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It is an engaging read in a field I never spend time in - science. It is also a work of creative imagination: what would happen to this earth if suddenly but not catastrophically all humanity ceased to occupy the planet? What would happen to what we have built? What would happen to what we have almost wrecked? What would happen to the scars we have inflicted? How would animals - wild and domestic - survive? How long until what appears to be inevitable now (human-induced changing climate) either culminates or abates?

Sure, there are political and scientific assumptions and agendas here. Natural selection, all the global warming discussion, etc. But there is also great story-telling, and for me I found the book created a longing for "the new creation" that the Bible promises.

Story-telling: especially compelling are the stories of abandoned places that nature has claimed or is claiming. Pictures of abandoned lands, at risk, but with wildlife returning. And so on.

I find I can't do justice to the thread and contents of a book like this. But I can recommend it!

I am now back at work on the present from daughter Kathryn, Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks. More later! Reading is always an adventure ... made more so now by my grown kids.

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