This is a collection of reminiscences, random investigations, and narratives which the author, a former newspaperman, has tagged ""fragments of life"". The opening A Home By the Sea is a personable, sensitive account of how he came to settle on a cliff overlooking Massachusetts Bay, how he built his house and gardens, weathered the storms, and gathered his knowledge of the manners of the tides, the winds, the ships, the debris of the sea and the seabirds. This is laced with sidetrips into other aspects of New England- its folklore, history, as well as the paraphernalia of a fading era- rail fences, wicker baskets and butter churns. Other pieces deal with a journey to the Canadian Northland, an airplane trip with a child and a moth, a definitive digression on cranberries, a light essay on gadgets, etc., etc., and finally a panorama of the seasonal variations in life by the sea. Mr. Rowlands' more organized articles are less appealing than his delicate tracery of the New England coast where his reflections seem distilled by a long and undistracted contemplation of the ebb and flow of life. Reflective, regional reading.