The Heeding

Alpine Books


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"Dazzling, moving... A book that will touch many, and be given often: here, take this, you must read this." —Robert Macfarlane

"So vivid... A call out to our elemental relationship with love and nature. Beautiful." —Willem Dafoe

The world changed in 2020. Gradually at first, then quickly and irreversibly, the patterns by which we once lived altered completely.

Across four seasons and a luminous series of poems and illustrations, Rob Cowen and Nick Hayes paint a picture of a year caught in the grip of history yet filled with revelatory perspectives close at hand.

A sparrowhawk hunting in a back street; the moon over a town with a loved one’s hand held tight; butterflies massing in a high-summer yardthe everyday wonders and memories that shape a life and help us recall our own.

The Heeding leads us on a journey that takes its markers and signs from nature and a world filled with fear and pain but beauty and wonder too. Collecting birds, animals, trees, and people together, it is a profound meditation to a time no one will forget. At its heart, this is a book that helps us look again, to heed: to be attentive to this world we share, to grieve what’s lost, and to hope for a better and brighter tomorrow.

"The light shines through this book. Poetry is a kind of breathing space and Rob Cowen has taken to it. Domestic in the best sense of the word – small scale, intimate, known – it is tender in as many senses of that word as there are. I am deeply grateful for it." —Tim Dee, author, Landfill