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Sep. 15th, 2013

Как подкупающе (для меня) начинается The Island at the Center of the World, история первых голландских колоний в Новом Свете и последующего заселения Манхэттена.

"More than anything, then, this book invites you to do the impossible: to strip from your mental image of Manhattan Island all associations of power, concrete, and glass; to put time into full reverse, unfill the massive landfills, and undo the extensive leveling programs that flattened hills and filled gullies; to return streams from the underground sewers they were forced into, back to their original rushing or meandering course. To witness the return of waterfalls, to watch freshwater ponds form in place of asphalt intersections; to let buildings vanish and watch stands of pin oak, sweetgum, basswood, and hawthorne take their place. To imagine the return of salt marshes, mudflats, grasslands, of leopard frogs, grebes, cormorants, and bitterns; to discover newly pure estuaries encrusting themselves with scallops, lamp mussels, oysters, quahogs, and clams. To see maple-ringed meadows become numbered with deer and the higher elevations ruled by wolves.

And then to stop the time machine, let it hover a moment on the southmost tip of an island poised between the Atlantic Ocean and the civilization of Europe on one side and a virgin continent on the other; to let that moment swell, hearing the screech of gulls and the slap of waves and imagining these same sounds, waves and birds, waves and birds, with regular interruptions by wracking storms, unchanged for dozens of centuries.

And then let time start forward once again as something comes into view on the horizon. Sails."

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