By Oliver Sacks
Given that youth, Oliver Sacks has been serious about ferns: an historical classification of vegetation in a position to live on and adapt in lots of climates. besides a pleasant workforce of fellow fern aficionados—mathematicians, poets, artists, and various botanists and birders—he embarks on an exploration of Southern Mexico, a sector that also is wealthy in human heritage and tradition. He muses at the origins of chocolate and mescal, pre-Columbian tradition and hallucinogens, the colourful attractions and sounds of undefined, and the bizarre passions of botanists. What different species could comb historical Zapotec ruins on their arms and knees, trying to find a brand new kind of fern? Combining Sacks's enthusiasm for average historical past and the richness of humanity together with his sharp and observant eye for element, Oaxaca magazine is a unprecedented treat.
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Sometimes on Sundays, my mother or one of her sisters, also botanically inclined, would take me to Kew Gardens, and here for the first time I saw towering tree ferns crowned with fronds twenty or thirty feet above the ground, and simulacra of the fern gorges of Hawaii and Australia. I thought these places the most beautiful I had ever seen. My mother and my aunts had acquired their enthusiasm for ferns from their father, my grandfather, who came to London from Russia in the 1850s, when England was still in the throes of pteridomania—the great Victorian fern craze.
Amateurs—lovers, in the best sense of the word—even though a more-than-professional knowledge, a huge erudition, is possessed by a good many of us. He asks me about my own special fern interests and knowledge. ” In the airport we meet up with a huge man, wearing a plaid shirt, a straw hat and suspenders, just in from Atlanta. He introduces himself—David Emory—and his wife, Sally. He was at college with John Mickel (our mutual friend, who has organized this trip), he tells me, back in ’52, at Oberlin.
Times Literary Supplement “Bittersweet and profound…. ” —Chicago Tribune OLIVER SACKS OAXACA JOURNAL Oliver Sacks is a practicing physician and the author of more than ten books, including Musicophilia, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Awakenings (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film). He lives in New York City, where he is professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the first Columbia University Artist. com BOOKS BY OLIVER SACKS The Mind’s Eye Musicophilia Oaxaca Journal Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood The Island of the Colorblind An Anthropologist on Mars Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat A Leg to Stand On Awakenings Migraine VINTAGE CANADA EDITION, 2012 Copyright © 2002 Oliver Sacks Map copyright © 2002 National Geographic Society Illustrations copyright © 2002 Dick Rauh All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.