Whispers and Shadows (Hardcover)

A Naturalist's Memoir

By Jerry Apps, Jerold W. Apps

Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 9780870207099, 141pp.

Publication Date: March 15, 2015



In these times of technological innovation and fast-paced electronic communication, we often take nature for grantedor even consider it a hindrance to our human endeavors. In Whispers and Shadows: A Naturalist's Memoir, Jerry Apps explores such topics as the human need for wilderness, rediscovering a sense of wonder, and his father's advice to listen for the whispers and look in the shadows to learn nature's deepest lessons.
Combining his signature lively storytelling and careful observations of nature, Apps draws on a lifetime of experiences, from his earliest years growing up on a central Wisconsin farm to his current ventures as gardener, tree farmer, and steward of wetlands, prairies, and endangered Karner blue butterflies. He also takes inspiration from the writings of Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard, Henry David Thoreau, Sigurd Olson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, Barbara Kingsolver, Wendell Berry, Richard Louv, and Rachel Carson. With these eloquent essays, Jerry Apps reminds us to slow down, turn off technology, and allow our senses to reconnect us to the natural world. For it is there, he writes, that I am able to return to a feeling I had when I was a child, a feeling of having room to stretch my arms without interfering with another person, a feeling of being a small part of something much larger than I was, and I marvel at the idea.

About the Author

Jerry Apps has worked as a rural historian and environmental writer for forty eight years. For ten years he wrote a weekly column on nature appreciation for several central Wisconsin newspapers. He has written many books on nature and environmental topics, including "Old Farm: A History, The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters," and "Garden Wisdom: Lessons Learned from 60 Years of Gardening." In 2012, Wisconsin Public Television produced the hour-long documentary "A Farm Story with Jerry Apps." He and his wife, Ruth, divide their time between their home in Madison and their farm, Roshara, near Wild Rose.