Download Air: The Restless Shaper of the World by William Bryant Logan PDF

By William Bryant Logan

The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to lifestyles this fastest, such a lot maintaining, so much communicative section of the earth.

Air sustains the dwelling. each creature breathes to dwell, replacing and altering the ambience. Water and mud spin and upward push, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part one million micro organism go back and forth in a sq. foot of summer season air. The chemical experience of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s knowledge of its mother’s breast―all occur within the medium of air.

lack of understanding of the air is dear. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. millions have been sickened after 11th of September via supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partially simply because we fill the air with commercial dusts. With the passionate narrative kind and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature enthusiasts and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne dirt that Darwin gathered aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations

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Additional resources for Air: The Restless Shaper of the World

Example text

It creates and is created by its actors, and is itself both stage and actor. The air is the great protagonist. All flesh is made from the carbon dioxide in the air. All creatures breathe it to sustain their lives. It makes, delivers, and drops the rain and snow that vivify all life on earth. It carries spores to new homes; pollen to waiting anthers; and insects, bats, and birds to one another. Bacteria live and reproduce in it. ” The air is the great antagonist. It brings the pathogens and decomposers that decay the dead or destroy the living.

It is like one of those long balloons. When you squeeze one end, the other expands. In a civilization based on exchange and consumption, rather than on work and contemplation, everything is reduced to a problem to be solved. Preferably, the solution should involve the making and sale of products and services. Yet every solution creates another problem, because in truth, both the air and the rest of us are not problems to be solved but mysteries in which we live. Mysteries, as the French existentialist Gabriel Marcel knew, are not matters that are beyond us.

Not absolutely fresh data, but a real picture of what had been happening in the air. Smith noticed two things. First, the temperature line showed a steady and rather steep decline from the surface of the earth well aloft into the upper air. A parcel of warm air will keep rising until it cools to the temperature of the air it meets aloft. There, it will condense, and rain might fall. If the air aloft is much colder than the surface air, the warm moist ball of surface air can rise fast and far, carrying its load of wetness with it.

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