Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Country Life

A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell

This is not something I would normally pick up, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. My across-the-street neighbor lent this to me, saying it was about a middle aged woman living in the country, and the book jacket also mentioned something about her living in the country after her divorce. I thought perhaps the piece would be similar to The Year of Magical Thinking and explore Hubbell's readjustment to life without a partner but while there is a short chapter where she discusses her husband, it isn't at all. Instead, it is about the enjoyment she gets from living in the country.

As an outsider who has been living in the country for twelve years, she realizes her perspective is different than that of her neighbors who have always lived in the area. Breaking her book down by seasons, Hubbell simply reflects on the different things, such as plants and animals, that affect her life during the different seasons. She is cognizant of her influence on the area and how she is a part of a larger picture. Her chapters, usually rather short, tend to focus on one particular anecdotal story or animal at a time, and she actually teaches quite a bit about nature. She is incredibly awed and respectful of the other life forms she shares the Ozarks with, and she can even appreciate cockroaches, snakes and other less cuddly animals.

The book offers various snapshots of nature, and for someone who is not outdoorsy at all, it definitely gave me a new perspective. Still don't know if I actually want to get close to nature, though.

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