Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss is a collection of over 100 personal essays by Margaret Renkl. They are snapshots of her family history and of her love of nature. She weaves the two together with tales of loss and gain and of grief and joy.
Many of the stories are about her observations of birds, snakes, moles, chipmunks, monarch butterflies, hawks, and flowers. Others detail her childhood in Alabama along with her current home in Nashville. She gives great insight into the complex relationship with her mother, including her transformation from child to caregiver. There are stories of her great grandparents, grandparents, and her own children. While there is occasional humor, most of the stories are poignant and insightful.
“Here is what no one told me about grief: you inhabit it like a skin. Everywhere you go, you wear grief under your clothes. Everything you see, you see through it, like a film.”
The author’s brother, Billy Renkl has done an incredible job of illustrating the book with objects from the natural world. The cover is stunning.
This is my book club’s October 2021 selection. 4-Stars.