Ostensibly about the avian behaviour of blackbirds, eagles, robins, martins, swallows, loons and the like, Harold Rhenisch's essays in Winging Home: a palette of birds (Brindle & Glass $24.95), illustrated by Tom Godin, are also about the Cariboo and Rhenisch's poetic responses to it.

"The Cariboo is not a place, but a state of mind,"; he writes. "In the fall the rusted tangles of junk in the ranch yards among the jackpine and the alkali lakes are covered with the heart-shaped sulphur-yellow leaves of the trembling aspens.";

The birds in Winging Home are clearly part of a master plan that Rhenisch figures out on a daily basis. "We are the new kids on the block,"; he says. "With our mammalian squeak and roar we are just learning the ropes.";

Asked by a new neighbour where the heck the Cariboo begins, Rhenisch suggests it doesn't really start at Cache Creek. He suggests the Cariboo starts at the auto-wrecking yard just north of Hat Creek, with the collapsing fence, across from the cedar house that advertises worms and fishing information. There is no thought given to where it ends because it's endless.

Writer and illustator Tom Godin of the Cariboo posts a weekly birding column on the internet.


[BCBW 2006] "Illustration"

Reviews of the author's work by BC Studies:
Winging Home: A Palette of Birds