The Sacred Combe: A Search for Humanity's Heartland
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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.
The Sacred Combe 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.
"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
- ISBN: 9781472914033
- Author(s): Simon Barnes
- Stock Code: 2914033
- Format: Paperback
- Illustrations: Black & white illustrations
- Pages: 238
- Published: 2017
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. The Enchanted Valley is where we understand the species we share the planet with, and where we also begin to understand the species we happen to be.The Sacred Combe represents natural history writing at its very best.
Detailed accounts of over 750 species known in Zambia. Text covers ecology, status, movements, breeding seasons, taxonomy and conservation concerns.