Magazine article Natural History

A Guide to Summer Reading -- Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964 Edited by Martha Freeman

Magazine article Natural History

A Guide to Summer Reading -- Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964 Edited by Martha Freeman

Article excerpt

ALWAYS, RACHEL: THE LETTERS OF RACHEL CARSON AND DOROTHY FREEMAN,

1952-1964, edited by Martha Freeman. Beacon Press, $35.

In 1952, ten years before the publication of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson met Dorothy Freeman, her summertime neighbor in Maine, and the two began a correspondence that lasted until Carson's death in 1964. These letters provide not only a look at Carson's development as a naturalist and writer but also a record of a friendship and of the times.

West Southport,

September 28, 1953

Dear Dorothy,

The big September tides have come and gone, and every time I was down there exploring I wished you were there, too--you would have enjoyed it so...wind and surf made each day quite unpredictable; what should have been the lowest tide wasn't, and one day the surf was so heavy that just being down within reach of it was an adventure. I'm sending you a snapshot taken from the "edge of the edge" on September 22, to show what I mean--you know it's not supposed to look like that at low tide!...I am so sorry we didn't have a good tide the day you were here. When it is really low, it is nothing to see as many as thirty anemones under one ledge--big things six to eight inches long. And there are so many urchins right out on the flat rock surfaces where the tide falls down below all the Irish moss, and there is nothing but the rose-colored coralline algae encrusting the rock. And then all the Laminarias and other deep-water plants begin to show themselves, and somehow everything seems so very different.

I think the things you might have enjoyed most (as I believe I did) were these....I was poking around a big rock that had thick crusts of the coralline algae that looked as though they could be broken off. I found they could be--because the pink coating was covering some very large barnacles, or rather barnacle shells, for they were empty. …

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