Anne Batterson, author of The Black Swan: Memory, Midlife, and Migration (Scribner 2001), narrates the story of a solo journey she made around the country in her vintage VW camper following the fall migration. The trip was an impulsive act based on nothing more than a hunch that the migrating birds had something important to teach her about her own life. For Batterson, adventure is not just about adrenalin, not just about exploring new territory; it’s about overcoming the numbing circuitries of everyday life, about experiencing the unbound reality of our lives on this planet as it travels through uncharted space. For Batterson, writing, one of the greatest adventures of all, is the way she gets to experience this reality for at least several hours every day.
She describes herself as a writer, adventurer, teacher, student, wife, mother of two adult children, grandmother of four. She has balanced these passions over the last thirty years by leading treks in Nepal, teaching humanities, literature, and writing; searching for reclining Buddhas in southeast Asia and China, and tracking wild animals through Connecticut’s hills and forests. As a co-founder of East Hill Writers’ Workshop, which offers workshops in all genres, she continues her work with writers.
Four years ago, she and her husband David sailed in a fifty-six foot sailboat from the tip of South America to Antarctica with four other adults and two children, a thirty-two day sail that is the subject of The Albatross That Waits: A Coming of (old) Age Adventure. This journey provides the framework for what can be described as a sequel to The Black Swan in that it explores the rhythms of the natural world for insight into watershed moments of her own life, only this time it is from the perspective of someone in her seventies who is trying to come to terms with her life and her death and, on a much broader scale, the future of our planet if we don’t respond to the threat of climate change.