For every nature writer there seems to be one special place that tutors him or her in the ways of nature and the relationships of humans to the natural world, including the spiritual dimension. For Thoreau, it was a pond; for Henry Beaton, a barrier beach; for Annie Dillard, a creek. For Harry Thurston, it is the salt marsh, that part of the planet where land meets sea.
Based upon childhood memory and his naturalist’s journals, “A Place Between the Tides” is the story of Thurston’s return to the beloved environment of his boyhood when he moves to the Old Marsh, a 1.5-hectare marsh on the banks of the Tidnish River in Nova Scotia. Elegantly moving back and forth in time, from the present year through the past decade and all the way back to childhood, the book describes the seasons in the life of the marsh as filtered through two decades of Thurston’s living there. Blending acute analysis and a poet’s lyricism, Thurston explores and examines one of the most productive and biologically diverse habitats on Earth, a habitat that has been degraded relentlessly since European settlement, making the few standing marshes precious because they are so vulnerable and vital.