My Time on the Turning World
University of Nebraska Press, Paperback, 9780803240780, 237pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
In a lyrical memoir and meditation on the nature of time and place, Elizabeth Dodd explores a variety of landscapes, reading the records left by inhabitants and by time itself. In spring in the Yucatán peninsula, she marks the equinox among the ruins of the Maya. In summer in the Orkney Islands, she considers linguistic and historic connections with Icelandic sagas. In tallgrass country in the fall, she observes bison and black-footed ferrets returning to their ancestral landscape. In winter in the canyons of the Ancestral Puebloans, she notes the standstill positions of the sun and the moon.
Ranging across continents and millennia, Dodd examines how people have inscribed the concept of time into their physical environments, through rock art, standing stones, and the alignment of buildings on the landscape. She follows the etymological trail of various languages, blending research with travel narrative and aesthetic meditation. From musings on the origin of the sandhill cranes’ transcontinental journey to reflections on the dimming light of shortening days as the winter solstice approaches, from depictions of exploding stars in ancient petroglyphs to meditations on the Great North Road, whose purpose scientists have yet to discover, Dodd captures the interstices of the natural world.
"Dodd entwines the details of her camping life—cold nights, hard beds, basic food—with her ruminations on culture, anthropology, geography, time and many other subjects. These essays . . . demand to be read and then reread with care."—Kirkus Reviews
"Profoundly receptive to the land and its echoes, steeped in history and cosmologies, beautifully expressive, funny, and self-deprecating, Dodd is fascinated with how language embodies and gives voice to place and with the art of timekeeping, from petroglyphs measuring the course of the sun and moon to calendars, almanacs, and even social-media status updates."—Donna Seaman, Booklist
“Elizabeth Dodd is alive with curiosity about the natural world and the intersections of history with our own lives. Revealing and profound, the stories she tells are compelling in the very best sense of the word—I had to keep reading.”—W. Scott Olsen, author of Hard Air: Adventures from the Edge of Flying and editor-in-chief of Ascent
-W. Scott Olsen
“A lyrical exploration of landscape, language, and history. At once intimate and wide-ranging, Dodd’s walking meditations weave unexpected connections between the places and ideas she explores. . . . This latest volume confirms that Dodd is one of America’s finest essayists of place.”—Chris Arthur, author of Words of the Grey Wind
“Elizabeth Dodd makes an excellent traveling companion for this journey through sciences, cultures, languages, natural history, and exploration narratives. . . . The whole of Horizon’s Lens is beautifully woven and precisely told, with a voice as clear as a starry night sky.”—Nancy Lord, author of Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life and former Alaska Writer Laureate