On An Acre Shy of Eternity: Micro Landscapes at the Edge (Book Review)

 By  Robert Dash  (2017). ISBN: 978-0-578-18871-3

By Robert Dash (2017). ISBN: 978-0-578-18871-3

Review by Joe Gaydos Science Director, SeaDoc Society

When Bob Dash asked if we'd review his book, On An Acre Shy of Eternity: Micro Landscapes at the Edge, I admit questioning how a book about one acre of land could be relevant to the Salish Sea and the world's oceans.

I wasn't even through the Preface when I realized that Dash's fascination with edges, or what he calls the places "where alien worlds collide," was akin to my preoccupation with how little separation there really is between the land and sea.

To convey the concept, I often tell stories of salmon, bears, American dippers, and marbled murrelets - animals that defy the land and sea segregation. Dash, the artist with a camera and poet with a pen, does it ever more subtly and more convincingly. By the time you've admired and re-admired his photographs and read and re-read his poems, you see how interconnected this one acre is and you're left wondering how you could have ever doubted that the land and sea are inseparable.

At first glance, you will be inspired and wonder where in the Salish Sea you can find Dash's magical little acre of land and how you can arrange a visit to take it in first hand. After enjoying beautiful photographs of birds and scanning electron microscope images of their feathers or thinking about "this land as an essay" while reading free verse poetry juxtaposed to striking photography, you will realize that a visit to Dash's acre is not really what you need.

Instead what you need to do is open your eyes and see that we are all living on our own "acre shy of eternity," we just didn't know it. Dash opens our eyes so subtly and so convincingly that you, like me, may walk away from reading his book thinking you already knew what you really just learned. On An Acre Shy of Eternity will intensify not only your view of the world, but your love for it as well.