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Zoro's Field: My Life in the Appalachian Woods
After a long absence from his native southern Appalachians, Thomas Rain Crowe returned to live alone deep in the North Carolina woods. This is Crowe’s chronicle of that time when, for four years, he survived by his own hand without electricity, plumbing, modern-day transportation, or regular income. It is a Walden for today, paced to nature’s rhythms and cycles and filled ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by University of Georgia Press
(first published May 1st 2005)
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While I have some issues with Mr. Crowe's brand of spirituality and his negative attitude toward Christianity once you get past that aspect the book is very enjoyable. Great stories about living off the grid in Appalachia, the natural area itself, and the fascinating people who live there. Each chapter ends with a poem he's written on the focus of the chapter. I too fear we are rapidly losing the wonderful flavor that has defined America as these "cultures" and their knowledge are rapidly slippi ...more
Love this memoir of a year spent "off the grid" very nearby to where I live-- this is a re-read for me. He does a good job in the chapters describing the experience of living alone in the woods and communing with the "nature" all around him. The chapters at the beginning are a little preachy and I just kept thinking, let's get to the good stuff!. He does use humor very effectively -- the episode of the squirrel and the snake in the attic is really funny. We discussed this at my monthly book grou ...more
The story was a personal fantasy to me -- being able to survive in a cabin on my own skills, with my own two hands and to have the ability to simply live in joy listening to raindrops tapping against tree leaves or observing the personalities of the birds as the author had chosen to do for four years. I read the book before I went to sleep and it was as soothing as a Merlot, each chapter another sip, each poem a kind of buzz...not exciting stuff, but thought-provoking. That's why the end was so ...more
One of my favorite forms of writing and on a subject that touches me deep down. I truly enjoyed the parts about the first ale making and the ordeal in the root cellar (reminds you to move slowly and be aware. It’s when you don’t respect your surroundings and lose awareness that they come back and bite you.) Some excellent references to other writers and similar subjects of interest. Planting by the signs p. 65 could be an interesting experiment. Plants grow better with rain water. p. 72 somethin ...more
It took me forever to finish this because honestly, I kept falling asleep. I stuck with it because hermitude comes naturally to me and I've long wondered how it would be to live alone in the wilderness. I am not really cut out for the self-sufficient part, but the tales of how he managed to do this for 4 years were pretty eye-opening. the way he related to nature and to the mountain people was crucial to his success. The end was quite imaginable to me, too. Not condescending the way lots of stor ...more
I started this book a couple years ago while working on a sermon that I called "Little Cabin in the Woods." Since it turned out not to be so helpful to me, I put it down and then just finished it. Crowe was a modern-day Thoreau in the North Carolina woods in the 1980s (?) and just published an account of his experiences in 2006. He's a good writer with some useful insights. I especially enjoyed the chapter on lightning and dowsing.
I was expecting a book to celebrate the natural beauty of Appalachia. While parts of this book did that, much emphasis was given to celebrating the author's ability to live off the grid for four years. Self-sufficiency is no easy task and elements of his writings were somewhat interesting, but it came off as a philosophical/political statement which --for me at least--soured the tale.
Mr. Crowe was certainly successful, in my mind, in conveying his rightful place of self sufficiency. I admit to loving these types of backwoods memoirs, & being truly inspired by his tenacity.I cared less for his poetry, & more for the daily musings amidst his mountain homestead.
This book was lent to me by a friend's husband. In an effort to be nice, I started reading it, thinking it sounded interesting and was a relatively short book. Egads! It's taken me forever. Parts are interesting, others just drag on and on. Not recommended for everyone.