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Waiting to Fly:
Ron Naveen loves penguins more than anything. He has spent season after season studying chinstrap, gentoo, and Adélie penguins in their icy home ranges. Sixteen years huddled at penguin-eye level, avoiding guano blasts, vicious pecks to his groin, and falling to his death off slippery rocks--not to mention exposure. Yet this man feels happier among his beloved penguins than in the temperate north, the nominal home of his own species. He writes:
To starboard, I pass an undulating line of chinstraps descending to the beach. The moment tingles, weirdly. I think of all the time I've spent doing something other than chinstraps. How could I have waited so long?
Waiting to Fly is a meditative, sweeping look at these misunderstood birds and their flightless, elegant lives. Naveen has terrific field biology tales, and he tells them with grace, making you understand how he might want to freeze his own tail feathers communing with short, goofy, tuxedo-wearing avians. We can learn from the penguins, he says, lessons about health, priorities, and a good work ethic. They may actually have mastered the art of life better than humans. --Therese Littleton [via]