There is something about following an animal.
Here, the tracks cross a gurgling brook. There, they head for a thicket dense with softwood saplings. If you stop and look, you can almost see the animal, leaping here, pausing there.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a hunter, hiker, wildlife photographer, or all three. There’s always mystery, always a tinge of excitement.
Sometimes in winter a deer or bobcat leads you across familiar terrain. Plainly visible in the deep snow, the prints meander down a valley. They pass a cluster of young maples where bucks pawed the ground in autumn. You guess that the animal will lead you straight through the narrow saddle just ahead.
But you’re never quite certain. When the tracks turn suddenly and ascend a thick, overgrown bank in great leaps, you wonder about what a Koyukon man once told Richard Nelson: “Every animal knows way more than you do.”
This book is starting to feel like that animal.
Two years ago, it was an idea: a few chapters roughed out, the others vaguely sketched.
One year ago, it was mostly drafted.
Now, it has taken on a life of its own. No longer a creature of my imagination, it’s headed out into the world and I’ve begun to follow. There’s that mystery, that tinge of excitement.
I don’t know every place the book is going, but I believe in the questions it raises—questions about food, animals, and the human place in nature.
And I do know a few of the places it will lead. Starting in mid-February, I’ll be talking, listening, and sharing stories and ideas all around New England, from Providence, Cambridge, and Newburyport to Northampton, Middlebury, and Montpelier. My first stop, on February 16th, just two days after the book hits shelves? Concord, New Hampshire.
If you live in the Northeast—or know anyone who does—please check out my events page for details.
More events are on the way. Portland, Maine, should be on the schedule soon. Got a favorite bookstore you want to suggest? Drop me a line. During the semester, I’ll be staying close to home, with maybe a weekend run as far as the tropics of New York City. After mid-May, who knows?
I hope to see you and your friends soon.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the video below. In October, Open Road Media sent a three-person crew up from Manhattan: fantastic folks. For two days, we had a blast talking, cooking, eating, and spending time in garden and woods—camera rolling. More recently, they donned their digital wizardry hats and crafted this glimpse into the terrain my book explores.
Nice work, Open Road.
© 2012 Tovar Cerulli