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288 pages; Penguin Press
When 32-year-old Leigh Ann Henion gives birth to her first child, she finds herself "afraid to tell the whole truth." As much as she loves her son, she writes, "I cannot help but mourn the loss of something I can't quite place. I have an inner emptiness—literal and figurative—that I've never felt before." To fill it, she shucks convention and leaves her son with her husband for week-long breaks in order to fly around the world, searching for natural phenomena that will renew her sense of joy and amazement: a butterfly migration in Mexico, an active volcano in Hawaii, a bioluminescent sea in Puerto Rico, the Northern Lights in Iceland. Part travel memoir, part parenting manifesto and part inquiry into those "fleeting, extraordinary glimpses of something that left us groping for rational explanations in the quicksand of all-encompassing wonder."
— Leigh Newman