Frankly, it is worthy of a blog post all of its own. Have you looked at a copy of it yet? If you haven't, you are missing out on one of the most beautifully photographed coffee table books I've ever seen. Add to that the illustrious contributors eloquently describing the land, people, plants, animals, food, and LIFE displayed in the rich confines of the Rio Grande Delta. It almost defies description...you just have to see it to "get it".
Every page presented in English and in Spanish... every caption for every picture in both English and Spanish - wow, now that's a challenge! Truly a labor of love. I read that every school library in the Lower Rio Grande Valley would be receiving a copy of this book. What an incredible gift to those born and bred in this culture...or newly arrived.
My favorite pages? Of course, the chapter (page 140) on The Origins of the Mexican Plate Special! Well, okay... maybe not my favorite - but in the top ten :-) Definitely the birds...indescribable. This book drew me in, first visually, and then with the sheer volume of intriguing information contained in each and every chapter. The birds, the Laguna Madre, the Barrier Islands, the fish, the insects...I admit I haven't been able to make it through the entire book. It's like a rich dessert...one that is best nibbled in small, memorable bites. I spent an hour, just thumbing through it today.
I don't have a coffee table...small condos with limited floor space often don't. I put my copy on the book shelf. I take it down at least once each week and study the photos that capture my attention that day. The photos lead to the learning of El Valle's history; my roots - although I was never encouraged to embrace them as a child. Now, I find myself wanting to know more and more about the area. I couldn't have found a more enchanting text to study than Seth Patterson's El Valle.
Compiled with an artistic eye, obvious quantities of patience and passion... perhaps the best resource, or remembrance, any visitor to the Rio Grande Valley would want. Don't waste your dollars on cheap souvenirs...spend the best $50 of your life buying THIS souvenir of the Rio Grande Delta (yes, it's really a delta, not a valley).
Today, I ran across a familiar name as I flipped through the book. The father of a dear friend in Austin, wrote a section for the book (Sabal Palm - Page 64 - by Jimmy Paz). "Could it be?", I thought when I saw his name...so I sent her a text to inquire. I knew he had worked with the Audubon Society for many years. Sure enough - it is! What a wonderfully small world this is - strands constantly intertwining - enriching our lives through happenstance (this is the dear friend who introduced me to my husband! She is also the one who brought me to South Padre Island for the first time - where I fell head over heels for a strip of sand). So......serendipitous!
Joni, at Paragraphs on Padre Blvd, has El Valle in stock, as does (I would imagine) Seth's mother, the most lovely Scarlet Colley, at her Dolphin Research and Sea Life Nature Center in Port Isabel.
Don't delay...get your copy today. It is worth twice what you will pay for it....it is THAT good.