Vesper Flights

The titular essay in this collection concerns the flight of swifts: twice a day, at twilight, they fly high up into the sky, a movement Macdonald describes as both a devotion and a kind of planning. There and throughout the book, she brings a keen eye to the places where human and animal lives intersect, preserving a wonder at the animal world even when it’s entangled in our own. Among the many things that struck me: despite frequent chronicles of habitat loss and extinction and other terrible consequences of humans’ poor caretaking, the collection never veers toward despair. Like the swifts, if we look far enough, it’s still possible to find a path through the storm.