Book Report

Desertwalk. A Search for Secrets of the Desert. Written and illustrated by Audrey Schumacher Moe. Walk Publishing LLC. Desert Hot Springs, CA. 92240. Printed in South Korea. $29.95. 147 Pages. 2008.
BY: JEANNINE PEREZ

This beautiful coffee table book is full of surprises and intriguing tidbits of information about the barren and empty desert scape we find around us. The desert is a most unique world that many may overlook, or drive quickly through saying, "...it's only emptiness, and there's nothing there." Or worse, we think of it as a pile of kitty litter.

For those who think that way, this book is a good beginning guide. For those of us who already love deserts, the book is a resource, an art form, and a treat. The information in Desertwalk can (almost) make you a desert expert, with its wealth of fascinating facts that will impress your friends!

Collect your own interesting facts about deserts. Did you know, "...a giant desert scorpion.....unchanged for 450 million years, stings with its tail...(and) can exist without food for a year?" (Page 24). Or that hummingbird nests are constructed of "cobwebs and fluff?" that roadrunners are members of the cuckoo family, and can run up to 15 miles per hour? (Page71).

Audrey Moe gives us many other examples of how nature watching has enhanced her own life, and also tells us that we can better understand our lives by simply observing nature. To better understand nature, she says, it is necessary to experience its many moods and changes.

The author, born in a Wisconsin farmhouse, moved to another farmhouse in Minnesota in childhood, and she learned early in life to respect, and then to love nature. Her book is divided into twenty-nine sections, from 'Jackhammers and Quail,' to 'Inchworm in the Sky.' Each section has a quote such as this one found in the preface, "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself." (R.W. Emerson, Page 15). Other quotes include several by Einstein, Wordsworth, a few Greek proverbs, and also wise words from a fortune cookie!("Aspire to live in awe!")

Audrey tells us..."Watching (nature) is not time wasted...Neither is reading." Her large sized coffee table book has examples, mixed with quotes, ideas, poetic descriptions, and her own water colored illustrations that combine to give readers a living picture of deserts; a picture they may not even have known existed. From coyotes to fungi, this book is good reading, and if you aren't careful, you may also learn more about yourself.

You can find copies of this book by Audrey Schumacher Moe, at desertwalk@walkpublishing.com, or at El Caballo Blanco bookstore in Loreto.