An Engagement with Nature by Jacob McAtear has the description ‘Short Nature Writing Stories about Landscape, Wildlife and Animal Encounters in the English Lake District – Ideal for Bedtime Relaxation, Meditation and Mindfulness’ on the cover. Inside the subtitle is Nurture your Mind.
I won this well-produced paperback book in a Twitter competition. Jacob McAtear’s description of a particular British bird had to be connected with the correct species. I have to admit that I worked my way through a bird-spotter’s guide to find the one that matched the detailed description!
My first impression of An Engagement with Nature was good and only improved when I opened it and found a quotation from William Wordsworth, and the author’s black and white photos introducing each short chapter.
While the book is recommended for bedtime reading, I read it at almost any time of day except bedtime. Vivid pictures are painted in words of the author’s walks through the Lake District landscape. The sights and sounds and, in just one case that I noticed, the smells are described.
I have not walked in all the areas of the Lake District included in this book, but the descriptions took me in my imagination through diverse countryside. I was reminded of my own ascents of Scafell longer ago than I care to say.
The vocabulary used sent me to a dictionary several times. Had I been reading this at bedtime, not knowing what a word meant might have kept me awake! The Cumbrian usage of clag meaning mist is not explained. The word means mud elsewhere in the country.
Birds, a spider and red squirrels are some of the creatures encountered on the walks. Jacob McAtear has studied the habits of these creatures and obviously has the patience to observe them carefully. Readers, who are interested in walking in the Lake District, and those who have enjoyed country walks in the past, will find interesting information in this book.