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By Allen M. Young

Small Creatures and usual Places unearths to us the sweetness and cost of hornets, bats, katydids, mice, cicadas, and different tiny dwellers in our personal backyards. younger, a popular professional on butterflies and cicadas of the yank tropics, documents in those captivating essays his willing observations of the wildlife as he walks via an city woods close to the Lake Michigan shore, or sits on his deck dealing with his yard, or gazes at a box of corn stubble in autumn. He invitations us to enterprise into our personal yards, local parks, fields, and forests and pause there . . .  to seem and to listen.
    Small creatures have targeted and fascinating tales to inform us, younger issues out. Their short existence cycles illustrate the problematic workings of a larger clock riding the seasons, and so they dominate the greater internet of lifestyles within which people are yet a strand. some distance too usually they are missed, taken without any consideration, reviled, or misunderstood. Even now, younger writes, as we flow right into a new millennium as a species and the technological speed of our lifestyles extra hastens, we will be able to achieve a lot from appreciating nature shut to hand, regardless of how progressively it's being driven aside.

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Even the mundane matter of siting—determined by the joint forces of soil, mulch, land contours, climate, and neighboring woods, farms, and lake bluffs—ties into the 41 Summer larger story. Rock gives way to soil over time. Glaciers reworked the rock along the western lake edge, thickening the soil and endowing it with a natural fertility fortified by a rich organic mulch that accumulates on top of the soil. The rolling landscape, fierce winters, and gusty spring storms continue to create cascades of branches, leaves, and animal carcasses (from tiny ants to deer) which infuse the soil with life-giving substances.

Many years ago, as a teenager, I gathered about five dozen mourning cloak caterpillars from a small elm tree near our house and carried them into our attic. There I set up several water-filled milk bottles holding sprigs of elm branches. With a loose cheesecloth netting around the whole area, this became a butterfly nursery of sorts. The caterpillars seemed to eat constantly. I could hear the concerted clicking of their sturdy mandibles slicing through the bony, tough elm leaves no matter what time of the day I came to visit.

I believe that all humans have a duty to respect, protect, and enjoy nature, and that nature is good ointment for the soul. But finding positive ways to integrate human values with conserving the natural heritage is not an easy task. A useful first step in heightening our awareness of nature and its importance to our collective existence is learning to observe and watch. It takes time, patience, and a touch of passion to explore the natural world, but the rewards are infinitely vast. What we need most, I think, is a renewed sense of perspective, a reminder about the placement of our own species within nature.

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