Here’s a fresh way to think about the end of the Paleozoic period, from A Land (1951) by Jacquetta Hawkes:
“It was already certain that this [Britain] would never be a land of mild fertility from which all wildness could be driven by cultivation. The mountains would endure to feed those roots of human nature which are starved in cities and even among cornfields. It was a hunger that began to be felt in the eighteenth century when Englishmen had won their battle against too much darkness and began to be conscious of too much light. By the end of the Palaeozoic era the possiblity of Wordsworth was assured.”
I mentioned this book when having tea this week with my friend Linda, who is 87. “Jacquetta Hawkes,” she said, “I knew her, too.” My daughter Rachel, 17, was with us, gulping down tea after a wet wander in the Green River. How exciting for her to be connected, through Linda, with yet another remarkable author. I’m afraid the casual connections of the Internet can’t substitute for this kind of direct, personal connection–handed down from generation to generation.