Signal Books International

Grow Old And Die Young: A Naturalist In Life's Theater

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Only when we can fall in love with the world that does not love us back, the world that will ultimately consume us, only then do we fully realize our most positive human power.

You know the deep-rooted adage that two people fall in love and become as one. Each individual mirrors the passion of the other. We feel the truth of this oneness when we lose a loved one and we feel a piece of us is gone. So, how can we say we love nature when nature shows no love for us, does not acknowledge either our cruelty or our kindness? The answer is a paradox. We are one of millions of forms life takes. We are made of the same molecules and atoms as lifeless mountains, clouds, and oceans, stars and comets. Yet we are uniquely different because we are conscious, because we can remember the past and imagine the future, and because we can love. 

On a practical level, the book fits in the wetlands preservation effort anywhere wetlands exist. Thousands of scientific and media articles and books have explained the importance of wetlands in economic and environmental terms. Ultimately, we will pay attention to these reasoned facts and act on them for one reason only—because we care. We’ll care because we come to recognize these places offer more than biology; more than costs and benefits.  We want to preserve what we love.

Grow Old And Die Young is that necessary love story. Through the story of a man who has traveled much of the world and seen its achievements and tragedies, this story connects the soggy, muddy, salty, marshy, mosquito clouded, and subtly beautiful world of coastal wetlands to every human heart.


 "I have been fortunate to know someone whose greatest love is the natural world. He writes with the insight of a Thoreau and the passionate poetry of Omar Kayam.  Fortunately for the rest of the world, he has left a written record. Read and savor Grow Old and Die Young by Wallace Kaufman. Years from now, you will remember when you read it." David Deamer, Astrobiologist, Biomolecular Engineer, and author of First Life and Assembling Life.


" Looking at ocean waves breaking on the beach, sending spray into the sunlight, it hits you:  this is beautiful, but for you, it will not last forever.  Life expectancy shortens with each low tide.  Then you see Wallace Kaufman’s book on the table:  “Grow Old and Die Young.”  In each short chapter you find nature beautifully photographed; verse to complement the photo; and then the reflection of a unique and lively mind, still firing its neurons, over a heart still beating in a body weathered by the years.  And you realize in all that there is youth, energy, wisdom, and a rare intelligence.  That makes it a book to come back to again and again, for a conversation with life itself."

 G. Melton Mobley
Attorney and Mediator

Wallace Kaufman is the rare writer whose intellectual proclivities are accompanied by a pragmatic understanding of the world, nature, and human nature. His work experience in Europe, Central Asia, Siberia, and throughout the US informs his penetrating observations on the environment, the cosmos, and our purpose and place on the earth. He came to the tidal waters of Poole Sough and its forests and marshes “to find something important,” and in sharing those findings in Grow Old and Die Young, offers readers like me, who find a spiritual presence in nature, the gifts of perspective, wonder, and meaning. 

Betsy VanDenBerghe, writer and editor, Salt Lake City, Utah