My first encounter with John McPhee, and a memorable one. I will definitely be reading more of him. He has a great, objective, journalistic style, whe...moreMy first encounter with John McPhee, and a memorable one. I will definitely be reading more of him. He has a great, objective, journalistic style, where most of the storytelling is done through summary and dialogue. This book serves as a good introduction into David Brower and his conservation tactics, his reason and stubborness, as he competes verbally with men of a different mind than his: a mineralogist, a developer, a dam erector. The interplay between passion and character is fascinating, as all the men are reasonable and driven and opinionated, but also able to interact with each other respectfully.
I am currently also reading Cadillac Desert, and wanted to read this first as the third section (with Floyd Dominy) was great preparation. The politics of conservation and reclamation fascinate me.
A recommended read, especially for conservationists or those opposing them. Even given that it was written in the early 70s, it is still timely and applicable.(less)
A fantastic story of a real life. Of a couple that eschews urban life and the technological advances of modern man, and makes their living the old-fas...moreA fantastic story of a real life. Of a couple that eschews urban life and the technological advances of modern man, and makes their living the old-fashioned way--off the land. They live off the land entirely, completely. Season in, season out, they use the river, their forests and open spaces, their garden and rotating herd of goats, to sustain themselves. They build from it, eat from it, sing and dance on it, thrive from it. The earth provides everything they need, and they are real homesteaders.
Harlan's words are invigorating. His tangents are enlightening, even inspiring. Reading this simple yet poetic book helped reopen my own eyes, once again, to the many things I *want* to be doing better, and can. I love his drawings and want to sketch more. His handyman skills--he can do anything. The couple's gardening prowess is unmatched--I want my own garden to thrive bigger and better this year than ever.
Harland Hubbard's journal of life at Payne Hollow is a beautiful, must-read account that may take you back a decade or century or two, and inspire you to harken back to the older, tried and true ways of human life on earth.
Some of Harlan Hubbard's variegated tidbits of wisdom:
"One forgets, even in a brief interval indoors, what it is like outside in the life-giving winter air. You must rise to meet it. You are inspired by earth and sky, seen so many times, yet ever new and unknown." (80)
"I rejoiced that I could live so completely in nature." (81)
"one cannot cling to what is past. The present moment is too urgent." (98)
"The gardener harvests much that was never planted." (108)
"Should not all who eat meat be willing to do their own butchering? If the eating of meat has so much against it, perhaps it should be given over entirely." (127)
"The old-timers are children of the soil. As each one passes away, an empty space is left which will not be filled by the rising generation, formed under urban influences." (134)
"I yearn for the wild, I lean toward its absolute solitude, I long to ascend the river to its headwaters in forested mountains, to flow with it down to the sea, the ultimate wilderness." (166)(less)