The Sacred Combe: A Search for Humanity’s Heartland

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9781472914026: The Sacred Combe: A Search for Humanity’s Heartland

A special place, a place of your own, a secret garden where life is somehow more alive than it is outside. The place is wilder and yet kinder, the creatures that live here are less tame but somehow more confiding. It's both magical and holy. Call it Eden, Narnia, the secret garden: the need for such a place is part of the human condition.

I've sought it all my life, as Alice sought the locked-up garden after she had fallen down the rabbit hole. But I did better than she: I found the key, I opened the door and walked through it. I entered the Luangwa Valley in Zambia, and nothing was ever the same again.

Simon Barnes is, without question, one of our finest natural history writers. The Sacred Combe is the story of his relationship with the great imagined place, and with the real valley, where he awoke on his first night in camp to find elephants eating the roof of his hut. It is about our abiding longing for a wilder, less civilized life, and about finding, and living, it. It is about every person's relationship with the wild world. Intensely personal in places, there are flashbacks to his childhood, reflections on a book or a painting, some meetings with exceptional people, and above all the sense of being in the bush, being both at peace and frightened prey. The Sacred Combe is where we understand the species we share the planet with, and where we also begin to understand the species we happen to be.

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About the Author:

Simon Barnes is the multi-award-winning chief sportswriter at The Times in London. He also writes two Saturday columns on wildlife. His twenty-odd books include three novels and the best-selling How To Be a Bad Birdwatcher. His most recent book is Birdwatching With Your Eyes Closed. He lives in Norfolk, United Kingdom, with his family and four horses, beside a marsh.

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This episodic journey into the wilds of Devonshire, Africa and memory - the edenic spaces where species fleetingly coexist - is studded with descriptive jewels. * Nature * Few articulate the joy of watching - no, the joy of simply being with - wildlife like Simon Barnes, lyrical and prosaic in the same breath ... A delightful curiosity. -- Paul Bloomfield * BBC Wildlife * Full of brief, digestible and often-personal nuggets - centred on the Luangwa Valley in Zambia - and makes for breezy, bright-eyed reading. * Wanderlust * These chapters are littered and bejewelled with eco factoids, fascinating and irreverent. * The Times Saturday Review * This episodic journey into the wilds of Devonshire, Africa and memory - the endemic spaces where species fleetingly coexist - is studded with descriptive jewels. * Nature * His attitude to the great outdoors is similarly eclectic, combining the impish humour of an enlightened Buddhist with a fierce intelligence and superb observational skills. * Mail on Sunday * The Sacred Combe is partly a hymn to his own spiritual home, partly a meditation on the qualities that go to make such places. * Daily Telegraph *

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. We ve all got one. A secret, special place. Hidden. Enclosed. A little greener and more fertile than the world outside. Here the birds are slightly more exotic, slightly more confiding, the grass greener and the fruit sweeter. To know such a place, to love such a place, is part of being human. Sometimes it s a place of myth, like the Garden of Eden. Sometimes it exists in fictional form, like Narnia or Shangri-La. Sometimes it comes in memories of a golden day in childhood, or in a glorious, doomed love affair. Sometimes it s a real place that we daren t go back to, for fear that it - or we - had changed. And just occasionally it s a real place. A place where you leave a small piece of your heart and return as often as you can so as not to lose it. It s a place of privilege. Simon Barnes found such a place when he woke in his first morning in the Luangwa Valley in Zambia to find elephants eating the roof of his hut. It was a homecoming, and he has been faithful to that passion ever since. Here he has known peace, danger, discomfort, fear and a profound sense of oneness with the Valley, with all nature and with the world. With the Valley he found completion. This book explores the special places of the mind and the world, with special reference to the Luangwa Valley and the glorious support of the Valley s great artist, Pam Carr. It s a book about the quest for paradise, and the eternal human search to find such a paradise everywhere. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781472914026

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