Archives For Bernd Heinrich


Bernd Heinrich - Life EveralstingThe Death of One Organism Gives Life to Legions of Others

A Feature Review of

Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death

Bernd Heinrich

Hardback: HMH Books, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Marilyn Matevia.

Once upon a time – or two – I may or may not have assisted in scattering the ashes of a dear, deceased friend in an area, or perhaps areas, where it may or may not have been illegal to do so.  And, hypothetically speaking, I may (or may not) have known we were in violation of said regulatory codes at the time.  But the fact of my alleged participation in this allegedly illegal activity is not the point.  More interesting is the law or code itself: why should it be against the law to scatter human cremains in certain remote public areas?  “Ashes” (which are not particularly ashy; cremains have the consistency of rough sand or very small bits of gravel) are the end result of incinerating a body at temperatures around 1500 degrees Fahrenheit, until all that remains are solid bone fragments, which are then pulverized.  They are essentially sterile, and they present neither a biohazard nor an environmental hazard (although the cremation process itself is not environmentally friendly).  Legal codes regulating the disposal of human bodies – particularly cremated ones – likely have a great deal more to do with honoring cultural traditions and observing taboos than with securing public safety.

Continue Reading…


“The Vast Miracle of Living”


A Review of
Summer World: A Season of Bounty.
by Bernd Heinrich.

 Reviewed by Brent Aldrich


Summer World: A Season of Bounty.
Bernd Heinrich.
Hardcover: Ecco Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $22 ]  [ Amazon ]


It is the beginning of May as I am writing, with the last frost date here in Indiana next week, and plans for planting all of the summer crops this weekend in the gardens. The weeks leading up to this time have involved sorting through last year’s saved seeds, starting some plants indoors, turning over the plots from last year, and breaking some new ground. There has been more rain than dry, so the ground has been soft, sometimes to the point of standing in mud and attempting to remove the sod. Along with this preparation for the garden, there are other events I mark the beginning of summer with, notably the first mow of the year, and the dropping of flowers from the Tulip trees which should happen in about two weeks (I actually observed a tree full of leaves earlier this morning). Marking the passage of time with the natural rhythms of seasons, weather, and plants may be one of the first and most substantial ways to connect with our local places; as the summer begins, Bernd Heinrich’s new book Summer World: A Season of Bounty describes this biologist’s engagement with the season, focused most specifically around two summers at his home in Vermont and cabin in Maine.

       Heinrich begins looking “at the ingenuity of life more locally, as life-forms interact with one another … I wanted to pursue the interesting and often puzzling, without taking the seemingly prosaic for granted.” These observations play out through the book through a diversity of life, several species of insects and birds, as well as plants, toads, and beavers. One of the joys of this book is the acuity with which Heinrich describes what Wendell Berry has called “the nearness / of the world, its vastness, / its vast variousness, far and near” (“Words” from Given).

Continue Reading…


We’re again going to split the podcast into two segments.  The first segment will be a news alamanac and the second will feature an excerpt from the audio archives of Doulos Christou Books.

Overview of Segment #1 – News Almanac

  • 15th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide
  • Holy week
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem: “Easter Communion”
  • New Books to Watch for
  • Upcoming Events


Other books mentioned:

  • Catherine Larson: As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda
  • Can Poetry Save the Earth?  A Field Guide to Nature Poems
  • Will Samson: Enough: Contentment in An Age of Excess
  • Lisa Samson: The Passion of Mary Margaret (A Novel)
  • Walter Brueggemann: Divine Presence Amid Violence