Lovely essays brimming with nature mysticism from the science columnist for the Boston Globe and author of The Soul of the...

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HONEY FROM STONE: A Naturalist's Search for God

Lovely essays brimming with nature mysticism from the science columnist for the Boston Globe and author of The Soul of the Night (1985). Raymo begins by wondering what value the traditional religion of his childhood holds in the contemporary scientific cosmos. He concludes by hedging his bets: the religious worldview can never be his (""John of the Cross lived in a world that was 6,000 years old and bounded just up there by the dome of night; my universe is measured by geological eons and reaches to the quasars""), yet he revels in religious imagery, using it to accentuate his sense of wonder at the mysteries of the natural world. The setting here is the Dingle Penisula, a wild promontory on the Irish coast where Raymo spends his summers. His subjects range from seabirds to meteors, from hedgehogs to snowflakes, organized in the form of a medieval book of hours (chapters are entitled ""Matins,"" ""Lauds,"" and so on down to ""Compline""). There's more than a touch of Annie Dillard here, in Raymo's impressive ability to combine lyrical description and scientific analysis. Like Dillard, Raymo also writes in an intensely personal mode; there are passages here of extraordinary intimacy, especially his recounting of his father's death from cancer. But he also delivers the facts--for instance, why there are no snakes in Ireland. Despite the subtitle, Raymo seems to be searching not for God, but for the awe that he discovered as a child in religion, and finds now in nature. When it comes to capturing this almost pantheistic rapture, he offers more than a hive's worth of honey.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1987

ISBN: 1561012351

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987