A delicately rendered memoir on motherhood, family, and the beauty of the natural world.
In fall 2007, Lynn Thomson experiences a huge life shift. Her teenage son, Yeats, is just beginning high school. Yeats has always struggled against the system, against the pressure to conform. He is a poet at heart: acutely sensitive, highly intelligent, and solitary by nature. Lynn and Yeats have always been close, but after fourteen years as a stay-at-home mom Lynn is going back to work for her husband, Ben, who has just opened his own bookstore.
When Lynn and Yeats take a trip to Vancouver Island, they discover a mutual love of bird watching. Lynn is the only other person Yeats has found who loves nature and watching birds. Plus, she has a car. Lynn describes in wondrous detail the many trips she and Yeats take, from the Wye Marsh and Pelee Island in Ontario, to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, to an ill-fated trip to the Galapagos Islands. The two grow closer with each bird-watching expedition. At the same time, Lynn notices that her son is beginning to pull away — and she must learn to let go.
Birding with Yeats is a delicate, sensitive, and gentle reflection on the unique bond between a mother and son, and the magic that is the natural world.
Lynn Thomson is a bookseller in Toronto, Canada. Birding with Yeats is her first book.
Among all the anxious books out there about how to ‘manage motherhood’ this one is truly (and literally) a breath of fresh air. Lynn Thomson and her teenage son share a love for the natural world that takes them to the wild and silent corners of Tofino, Pelee Island, and the Galapagos. Her account of these expeditions is a gentle, unselfconscious guide to the toughest part of parenthood: how to love our kids at the same time we let them go.
Sometimes you read a book and you begin to realize that it is going to change the way you live your life. Written with tenderness and deceptive simplicity, this is a memoir that is not just about bird watching (though I promise you will want to buy binoculars and get out there) but also about how we carve silent places of understanding with the people for whom we care. I loved this book.
A tender, though-provoking meditation on the mysteries of motherhood and the redeeming power of the wild. Lynn Thomson reminds us that nature will always be our extended family, and that to be alive is to be a custodian of everyone, and everything, we care about. Into the trees we go, only to return with a song and a flutter in our hearts.