Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Turtles Memoir

I just finished reading this memoir by David M. Carroll. I discovered him on the genius awards web site. I had never heard of him before, but he lives in New Hampshire and writes about nature so I thought I'd give him a try.

I don't read many nature focused books but something drew me to this one and I am glad. It is a marvelous evocation of a man's life path. As a boy of 8, Carroll discovered turtles living in a wetland near his house and he has spent his lifetime studying turtles ever since. He received a degree in art from the Boston museum school and renders gorgeous drawings and watercolors of turtles and the natural world.

His high school art teacher's first assignment was to have the students make handbound books and Carroll's became the first handbound journal in which he kept turtle notes. Every spare moment, wherever he lived, he would seek out and find turtles even in Boston in the Muddy River.

I love reading about the life of someone who is incredibly focused, who devotes their life to something specific without wavering, who can articulate so well with words and draw so beautifully. This is a life as unlike my own (I flit from thing to thing endlessly without much seeming focus) as a mountain climber's might be, yet it is fascinating and invigorating to my own mid-life path to read about David Carroll.

A funny note: when he wrote about meeting Laurette, his wife to be, and then moving in with her in Boston and their having a baby he forgot to say in there somewhere that they got married. !!!! At least, I am assuming they got married and haven't been living an unconventional marital life all these years. I think the omission is rather sweet.

Also, and this is close to my heart, the Carroll's rented a number of houses in New Hampshire. When they rented the final house, they ended up becoming very friendly with the owner, who owned other properties in Warner, and when she was dying at age 101, she told them she'd willed the house to them!!!!! I find this so heartwarming in this world of people who think only in terms of money in association with houses. And it also speaks to how marvelous the Carroll's are in terms of generosity of spirit as they became this woman's companions in her old age when she had no other relatives to help her out.

1 comment:

Mary Richmond said...

I read this book quite a while ago and know his work--it's such a great book!!!