Book Review: The Nature Lover’s Quotation Book

The Nature Lover’s Quotation Book: An Inspired Collection for Hiking, Camping and the Great Outdoors, compiled by Hatherleigh Press, 2018. Reviewed by trail runner Laura Clark.

The beauty of a compilation of quotations about nature is that you can absorb the essence of great writers and naturalists without having to plough through pages of dense text. Or, put another way, with a curtailed armchair experience, you will have more free time to get outdoors and explore. To further simplify the process, the quotes in The Nature Lover’s Quotation Book are organized into five main chapters designed to match your mood of the moment.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this slim volume has to do with the authors selected. Besides the natural philosophers you would expect to encounter: Thoreau, Whitman, John Muir, John Burroughs and Ralph Waldo Emerson, there are some total surprises, witnessing the universal appeal of the natural world. Lillian Russell, the vaudeville performer and infamous mistress to Diamond Jim Brady has her say, as does the singer Enya, Thomas Edison and Leonardo Da Vinci. Who knew? And just for the record single blades of grass are the most commonly mentioned, followed by trees and finally flowers.

Poignantly, Anne Frank is recognized in Quieting the Mind, declaring “And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” We all know that she almost breathed a sigh of relief when The Attic was raided, releasing her into the outdoors once more. Surprisingly, Helen Keller is also represented. With her, “I am delighted to have the cool waters of a brook rush through my open fingers,” she reminds us that other senses besides sight and hearing are open to nature.

Perhaps more related to the running experience are The Spirit of Adventure and the Putting Things in Perspective chapters where Tenzing Norgay comments, “I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life.” Sounds a lot like post-marathon depression. And from Tom Brown Jr, the famous tracker, “The place where you lose the trail is not necessarily the place where it ends.” Pile on those bonus excursion miles! And the definitive naturalist John Burroughs reminds us not to despair if our adventures are confined to local turf, “Every place is under the stars. Every place is the center of the world.” And for those of us hemmed in by daily roadblocks, there is poet Wallace Stevens with “Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.”

Whatever your mood, you will find a quote that will make you pause for reflection and realize you are not alone. To conclude with the words of John Muir, “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”