I came into the office the other morning and found a book lying on my desk. Inside the front cover was a note telling me it was a gift from the Epicure, a friend and a colleague for the past twenty-some years. We have many common interests including the Eastern Shore, the Outer Banks, oysters, clams and shrimp bisque, just to name a few. Over the decades we've visited kitchens and markets and chefs, mushroom farms tucked in country villages and oyster farms on the winding creeks of Chesapeake Bay. And it was only a couple of months ago, when she joined me for a sail on Spartina, that I realized we shared a life-long interest in sailing - mine beginning on my Dad's boat in southern California, her's sailing with her family on Long Island Sound.
The gift was "WIND, How the Flow of Air Has Shaped Life, Myth, and the Land" by Jan Deblieu. I have long known of the book, seen earlier editions on bookshelves of my favorite book stores up and down the coast. It was a book I was always going to read some day, but never did. Now I will.
I cannot recommend the book as I have not yet read it, but the description on the back cover appeals to me:
"Jan DeBlieu takes the tempests of her home, the North Carolina Outer Banks, as a starting point for considering how the world's breezes and gales have made us who we are. She travels widely, seeking out the scientists, sailors, and sages who, like her, are haunted by the movement of air."
I can tell you from the time I have spent in the Outer Banks - whether working, fishing, sailing or chasing a hurricane - that anyone who lives on the narrow strips of sand on the edge of the Atlantic knows the wind and what it can do. The books sounds to me as if it is a mixture of memoir, science, history, travelogue and cultural exploration. In other words, it sounds perfect.
I cannot wait to read it, but I will. It might be the perfect book for the spring sail on breezy sounds of North Carolina. "Wind," along with a book by Pat Conroy, maybe The Water is Wide, A Memoir, should make for some fine evening reading.
The book is a wonderful gift, made more touching by the Epicure having her close friend, Jan DeBlieu, inscribe the book for me. The book, once read, will no doubt find its way into my collection of treasured books about coastal North Carolina. Thank you, Epicure.