By William Bryant Logan

The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to existence this fastest, so much maintaining, such a lot communicative part of the earth.

Air sustains the residing. each creature breathes to stay, replacing and altering the ambience. Water and mud spin and upward push, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the airborne dirt and dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part one million micro organism trip in a sq. foot of summer season air. The chemical experience of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s know-how of its mother’s breast―all occur within the medium of air.

lack of knowledge of the air is dear. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. hundreds of thousands have been sickened after 11th of September by means of supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partly simply because we fill the air with business dusts. With the passionate narrative kind and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature enthusiasts and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne airborne dirt and dust that Darwin accumulated aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations

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Extra info for Air: The Restless Shaper of the World

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At the time of their observations, the ships in question were on the open ocean from 450 to 1,030 miles west of the coast of Africa. C. H. Ehrenberg’s sketch of the microscopic contents of the dust sample that Charles Darwin had sent him. (Courtesy of Bob Brandys) Darwin threw his mind out into that space like a spider shooting out a strand of web on which it might take flight. ” Always seeking the concert, Darwin’s imagination was on the right track, and well beyond the reach of what he knew. He was just at the limit of knowledge, imagining what effect this widespread dust would have falling into the ocean.

Near the equator it strikes more directly, near the poles more obliquely. Therefore, the former is heated more than the latter. Air that is hotter rises, and as it does, it flows north toward the cooler regions. As the warm air heads north, it cools. The rising air near the equator lowers the pressure beneath it at the planet’s surface. The colder air from the poles is denser and so under greater pressure. The cold dense air flows south along the surface, warming as it goes. Warm air heads north aloft and cools.

Later, I heard that the edges of the drying Aral Sea and of the Mongolian steppes suffer dust storms that pick up pesticide residues and industrial pollutants and carry them aloft hundreds of miles downwind, where they cause disease and poison the breast milk of Inuit women in the Arctic. Nevertheless, I supposed that these dramatic dust events were (1) local, (2) exceptional, (3) ancient, or (4) criminal. It never occurred to me that they are not only as common as dirt but also as important. Charles Darwin began to realize this on January 16, 1832, aboard the HMS Beagle just off Porto Praya of the Cape Verde Islands, about 310 miles west of the coast of Africa.

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