This lovely reading of Rachel Carson’s The Sense of Wonder serves to reinforce the knowledge that having the capacity to appreciate the beauty of nature affects our lives in countless positive ways. I listened to this half-hour-long CD on at least five separate occasions and each time came away with something new. Renowned for her influential work Silent Spring and credited widely as the founder of the modern environmental movement, Carson is no less of an inspiring force nearly a half century after her death. The Sense of Wonder relates her experiences of sharing the joy of outdoor discovery with her young nephew, Roger, and is part homage to the wild landscape of Maine and part parenting manual.
Contending that the importance of adult encouragement of natural discovery to a child’s development cannot be overstated, the author feels that all too often mothers and fathers are discouraged from doing so either due to the “inconvenience” of these adventures and/or a feeling of ignorance about how to teach things they themselves do not know. Carson strongly believes that whether or not a particular star, animal, or plant is correctly identified by name misses the point entirely—the true appreciation of nature stems from perception rather than knowledge. The struggle to combat materialism and indifference is centuries-old, of course, but I still found it hard to believe that The Sense of Wonder wasn’t written recently. Though a short work, it is extremely powerful, and I highly recommend it for all.