Back “Nature Near Home,” John Burroughs

John Burroughs (1837–1921)
From American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau

Brown Creeper, Certhia familiaris [male, lower left; female, top], and California Nuthatch, Sitta pygmea [properly, pygmaea; center two]. Plate 415 from The Birds of America. Watercolor by John James Audubon. Engraved, printed, and colored by Rob Havell, 1838. Image courtesy of the National Audubon Society website.

A few weeks after the naturalist John Burroughs turned eighty, he was in a terrifying automobile crash, when the vehicle overturned and he was pinned underneath. He and the driver fortunately escaped serious injury, and he spent the following weeks recuperating in bed, watching the birds from his porch, and working on his next book, Field and Study. And, indeed, one of the most well-known pieces in the book, “Nature Near Home,” describes the joy of staying at home and watching birds during winter. Burroughs’s short essay describes how we can “study nature” in our own yards and through the windows of “one’s own home,—on the farm, in the mountains, on the plains, by the sea,—no matter where that may be.”

Read “Nature Near Home” by John Burroughs

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