From Jim Crumley, the “pre-eminent Scottish nature-writer” (Guardian), this landmark volume documents the extraordinary natural life of the Scottish Highlands and bears witness to the toll climate chaos is taking on its wildlife, habitats, and biodiversity—laying bare what is at stake for future generations.
In this landmark volume, Jim Crumley brings together a sweeping five-year quest to document the seasons and how he has seen them change. It explores the damage to the Earth’s natural rhythms, but also relishes the enduring beauty and wonder of nature itself.
Drawing on his studies of each season over more than thirty years and reworking the volumes in his best-selling Seasons quartet, Crumley has created this unique account of our natural world today.
After a lifetime of immersing himself in the landscapes of Scotland and a handful of other northern countries, Crumley has amassed a body of knowledge and insight and a bank of memorable imagery.
Combining lyrical prose and passionate eloquence, he lays bare the impact of an increasingly chaotic climate and urges us all towards a more daring conservation vision that embraces everything from the mountain treeline to a second spring for the wolf.
Foreword by Kathleen Jamie
Introduction: A Moment of Beauty
Part One: AUTUMN
A Child of Autumn
The Far East
The Unexpected Eagle
Twenty-four Hours on Harris
Daylight on the Dream
An Audience with the Great Shepherd
A Storm Called Abigail
Autumn into Winter
Edinburgh: Summertime in November
Part Two: WINTER
The White Bird Passes Through
White Walls Weeping
Sweet Medwin Water
The Narwhal in the Sky
Hark the Herald Eagle
A Winter Diary
Insh Marshes: A Waterworld with No Half Measures
I Went Out to the Hazel Wood
Part Three: SPRING
Falcons of the Yellow Hill
The Backward Spring
The Mountaineering Badger
An Island Pilgrimage (1) – Mull and Iona
An Island Pilgrimage (2) – Lismore, the Great Garden
An Island Pilgrimage (3) - Lindisfarne, Islandshire
May in June
The Poetry of Mountain Flowers
Swan Song for a Backward Spring
Part Four: SUMMER
The Goddess of Small Things
St Kilda Summer, 1988
You Have Not Seen Her With My Eyes
She Is of the Woods and I Am Not
The Land of Havørn (1) – Under the Blue Mountain
The Land of Havørn (2) – Islands of Dreams
The Climate Imperative
The Accidental Kingfisher and Other Stories
Afterword Never Forget
Jim Crumley has written more than forty books, mostly on the wildlife and wild landscape of his native Scotland, the impact of human activity on the natural world, species reintroduction, and climate change. His work has been recognised in nominations for prestigious awards including the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing and Scotland’s National Book Awards. Crumley is also a poet and a widely published journalist.
Kathleen Jamie was born in Renfrewshire in 1962, and studied philosophy at Edinburgh University. She has published several collections of poetry, including Black Spiders (Salamander Press, 1982), A Flame in Your Heart, with Andrew Greig (Bloodaxe Books, 1986), The Way We Live (Bloodaxe Books, 1987), The Autonomous Region: poems and photographs from Tibet, with Sean Mayne Smith (Bloodaxe Books, 1993), The Queen of Sheba (Bloodaxe Books, 1994), Jizzen (Picador, 1999), The Tree House (Picador, 2004) and The Overhaul (Picador, 2012), as well as Mr and Mrs Scotland Are Dead: Poems 1980-1994 (Bloodaxe Books, 2002), which was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. The Tree House won the 2004 Forward Poetry Prize and the 2005 Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award. She has received several other awards for her poetry, including a Somerset Maugham Award, the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Single Poem, a Paul Hamlyn Award and a Creative Scotland Award, and has twice won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She also writes non-fiction. A travel book about Northern Pakistan, The Golden Peak (Virago, 1992), was updated and reissued by Sort Of Books as Among Muslims: Meetings at the Frontiers of Pakistan, in 2002. Findings (2005), a collection of essays and observations on her native Scotland, was followed by Sightlines (2012), essays based on a second set of journeys, both from Sort Of Books. She lives in Fife, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. After teaching for many years at the University of St Andrews, she took up her present post of Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Stirling in 2011.
Praise for Jim Crumley
“Delightful … The lyrical prose elevates Crumley’s detailed descriptions of the natural world he encounters … Readers will be transported by this immersive outing.” Publishers Weekly
“Scotland’s foremost living nature writer.” The Courier, Scotland
“The pre-eminent Scottish nature writer.” Guardian
“Jim Crumley … has been our predominant writer on the natural world … [He] is a naturalist with a great gift for observation … His work engages us in the best ways … We are drawn alongside him, to appreciate what he appreciates.” Kathleen Jamie, Scotland’s national poet
“In what may come to be judged as his masterwork, veteran nature writer Jim Crumley opens our eyes to unknown beauties and to mysteries we may not even have considered.” Allan Massie, The Scotsman
"This is a book from an author that can inspire those with a good knowledge of wildlife but also, I feel, draw in others to that subject through the beauty of the writing and the incisiveness of the observation. A great book, and obviously a book for all seasons." Mark Avery