Dawn Light: Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day
W.W. Norton & Company; 2009
Reviewed by Nina Amato
Dawn Light is a book about the world. The world at dawn. Ackerman wants us to appreciate everything about dawn; the beauty and the science.
The chapter, Water, Water Everywhere, is about, not surprisingly, water. Water in the oceans. Water in the clouds. Water at dawn. We are entranced by the topic with the chapter’s first stunning sentence, “In the sapphire hours before sunrise, ice floes on the lake crack the mirror reflection of trees.” Ackerman goes beyond this exquisite imagery, bringing our attention past water’s evident beauty to its imperative role in our existence. “Eccentric right down to our atoms, we’d be impossible without water’s weird bag of tricks. The litany of we’re only here because begins with this chilling one: We’re only here because ice floats.” This is science reported by a poet.
Ackerman’s gorgeous observations of the world at dawn are described with such splendor that reading the book is almost as uplifting as actually viewing a sunrise. “As the sun drives gold nails through the shadows, a dull red dawn, the color of deer and rust, soars up the sky.” Few could construct such a beautiful picture of dawn using only words. The whole book is lovely verbal photograph, full of history, science, and poetry.
Harried by deadlines, overcome with stress, it is easy to forget the world that surrounds us. Other creatures are busy too. Cranes are coupling up to raise their young together, just as people do. Early birds are catching their worms, possibly because drowsy half-asleep worms are easier to catch. Bees, farmers by occupation, are tending their crops in the summer based on the waking schedule of each flower.
Dawn Light is a beautiful reminder to pause and admire the world around us. The world is a marvelous place; especially at dawn.
Reviewer Nina Amato wishes she had a job to list in this bio. Sympathetic employers can view her work at writeNdesign.com.