by William Bryant Logan
It’s what we breathe. On the move, it brings wind and weather. As it vibrates, it communicates sound. It’s hard to imagine a facet of life in which air is not a prime player. That’s Logan’s thesis, and he has constructed a veritable symphony of variations on it.
An arborist by profession and aviator by avocation, Logan takes readers from the soil, through plant roots, into the near surface air and then on up above the clouds. In most instances, the transitions work — if not seamlessly, at least engagingly. And that’s because he doesn’t present a musty treatise on air. Earth’s atmosphere is merely the theme about which his anecdotes pirouette.
And there are plenty of anecdotes. Some are personal; Logan relates his experience of 9/11 in New York City, in which caustic gunk rained down on trees under his