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By Monomoy Light
Nature and Healing in an Island Sanctuary
North T. Cairn; John Hay, fwd.

Northeastern University Press
2000 • 192 pp. 6 x 9"
Memoir / Ecology & Environmental Studies / Cape Cod

$24.95 Hardcover, 978-1-55553-448-6

“Shimmering, exquisite prose that offers a lyric meditation on what it means to be human and our place in nature . . . Seamlessly fus[es] ecology, history, archaeology, and naturalist observation.”—Publishers Weekly

Reflections on life off the coast of Cape Cod, in lyrical, intimate, and arresting prose.

In this beautifully written book, North T. Cairn reflects on her three extended summer stays on Monomoy, an island wildlife sanctuary. Residing alone in an abandoned lighthouse-keeper's cottage, she lived simply in the wilderness, studying the diverse habitats of the refuge and its creatures.

Cairn recalls her sojourns on Monomoy, seamlessly blending memoir with natural and social history to trace the transformations that come from encounters with nature and its inhabitants. Her evocative observations of the barrier island paradise-sea and sand, light, flora, migrating birds, white-tailed deer, gray and harbor seals-echo larger, transcendent issues of life in a changing world. For Cairn, the outer world of nature also becomes a metaphor for the inner world of reflection, new discoveries, and healing, particularly of her own childhood trauma and long estrangement from family.

By Monomoy Light will reawaken the reader to the necessities of rest and peace; of space apart for meditative listening and quiet; of the imperative to preserve the character of the wilderness, wherever it may be found.


“This is a splendid book, a powerful testament to the powers and mercies of sand and wind, tide and time, full of the flights of migrating shorebirds and the scent of bayberry and the shiver of beach grass. It will make you want to walk in the sand, singing to seals.” —Sy Montgomery, Boston Globe columnist, NPR commentator and author of Journey of the Pink Dolphins: An Amazon Quest

North T. Cairn is a journalist who specializes in nature, the environment, human services, and science. She pens a prize-winning weekly nature column for the Cape Cod Times and holds an appointment in nonfiction writing at Mount Holyoke College. She lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts. John Hay is the author of several books, including A Beginner's Faith in Things Unseen, The Bird of Light, and In the Company of Light. He lives on Cape Cod.

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 09:53:06 -0500