Once, someone lent me a copy of Peter Matthiessen’s Snow Leopard. And I can honestly say it’s a book that changed my life. It made me look at the world in a different way, and see it as a bit more beautiful.
Since reading that book, I’ve read others by Matthiessen. His writing is lyrical and thoughtful, and I found odd phrases that stayed with me for a long time. Birds of Heaven, his 2001 love letter to cranes is enough to make anyone want to work in bird conservation. Which is what I do, and it made me feel happy, and proud, and like I’m not doing enough.
Peter Matthiessen died on the weekend. The New York Times published a brilliant profile of him just before he died (the photo is from that piece). What a life. What a man. If you haven’t read his books – do – you won’t regret it.
Peter Matthiessen – b May 22, 1927, d April 5, 2014. One of the greats. May his work inspire many more people to think about nature and care about the world a little bit more.