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-fasA 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)...more
A fantastic little piece of Colorado River (and San Juan River) literature. Nancy Nelson has ton an amazing amount of in-depth research, tracking downA fantastic little piece of Colorado River (and San Juan River) literature. Nancy Nelson has ton an amazing amount of in-depth research, tracking down and personally interviewing the people who worked with Norman Nevills, reading their personal diaries and accounts from the time (many of them in journalistic form but never published), and perusing publication archives and old photographs.
It reads a little dry sometimes, but it's a great collection of river-running stories, and the Nevills history woven within, telling of the inception of Nevills Expeditions, the true beginning of whitewater river running throughout the southwest.
I found that the related tales of boating down the old Glen Canyon--the Glen Canyon that no one in the 1950s and 1960s knew well enough to try and save--are heartbreaking. Herbert E. Gregory Natural Bridge, Redbud Canyon, Mystery Canyon, Forbidden Canyon, and many many other beautiful splendors are now hidden under Lake Powell's waters (though recent lower levels at the reservoir have reexposed some of these, including Gregory Bridge). Nelson's book has helped revitalize my conservationist spirit. I haven't seen a much more well-laid out set of stories that touch on these lost beauties (including Edward Abbey).
I am now inspired to yell "Yogi!" as I being rafting or kayaking (or hiking or jumping into a water hole, for that matter). Yogi is the Navajo story for the origin of the Colorado River. I also want to always refer to the San Juan as "the river gone mad" (translation of the Navajo's name for it). And I would still love to see Rainbow Bridge (mainly by hiking to it), and the now-secret Elves Chasm caves.
If you can find this book, don't pass it up! A sweet little rarity to treasure (as I do). You will long for whitewater even harder--and especially for handmade box boats and the glory days when the rivers were truly yours and yours alone....more