Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life

by Beth Powning

Hardcover, 1996




New York City, NY : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, c1996.

User reviews

LibraryThing member TigerLMS
I love this book! I've read it three times over the last ten years. The photographs and the prose are wonderful, and in many ways it makes me want to live the life she's describing--- until I realize that plant-killing frosts come in August and the spring thaw doesn't really happen until late May. I consider this more poetry than non-fiction, but it's a great take on life lived outside suburbia and up close and personal with nature.… (more)
LibraryThing member Aspenhugger
"In the tradition of our great nature writers -- Barry Lopez, Gary Synder and Annie Dillard -- Beth Powning tells the story of her personal journey to forge a bold new life in the wilderness of the North Country.

"Twenty-five years ago, when she was twenty-one, Beth Powning and her husband left their native Connecticut for an abandoned farmhouse in a secluded provine of Canada. They wanted a home insulated from the onslaught of strip malls and neon.

"... Home is a powerful celebration of the search for the spirit of home in nature, as well as the memoir of a woman's relationship with the land, as its mysteries, pleasures and terrors unfold before her.

"Brought to life with seventy-five sensuous color photographs taken by the author, and filled with rare insights into the natural world, this story will strike a resonant chord in anyone who has yearned for a simpler life."
~~back cover

And in anyone who loves nature, as the book is not so much a journal of her days, but rather of her encounters with the land and the animals, in no special order, in no distinct time. In exquisite language, she talks about coming to know the rhythms and contours of her adopted land, often remembering the land and the rhythm of daily life she absorbed into her bones as a child. This book is the story of the absorption of her new home: wildnerness and fields of timothy grass, and snow.

This book is why I read. Most of the books I read (and I assume this applies to all of us readers) are good, sturdy, funny, comforting, etc. But most of them are ordinary too, sinking below my memory in short order. This book, this unexpected jewel, will stay with me forever. Here's why"

"It takes a long time for roots to grow. For me, twenty years passed before I suddenly realized that this place had finally become home.

"It became my home when I knew, absolutely and without looking, that the wind would tug loose the fireweed's seed fluff in the last week of August; when I knew where to find the fiddleheads, and could tell by the sound of the brook when they would be ready; when I could watch spindrifts of snow ghosting across the fields and remember dew-hung spider webs on a June morning, like a reality behind a reality. It is the small events of the natural world, the return of the swallow, the leaping gray waters of the spring brooks, that comfort me with a kind of transcendent familiarity, an ancient re-awakening."
… (more)
LibraryThing member oldblack
Not just beautiful writing but magnificent photographs that together show Beth Powning as a person who is closely in touch with the physical world around her. She must surely rank among the most fully integrated people I know of. I thought of her this morning as I took an early morning walk and a noisy miner bird swooped down and attacked my (bald) head with its beak. Rather than cursing the bird, as would be my immediate response, I thought about what Beth's response might be....perhaps seeing myself as the aggressor, invading this creature's precious territory, marveling at how brave such a tiny creature is to take on an animal hundreds of times its size and weight. Who else but Beth Powning could look forward to a New Brunswick winter blizzard? and that must be almost a metaphor for her whole life. I read this book as I recovered from cancer surgery and found a wonderful synergy between the two, and enjoyed a measure of new life from both.… (more)



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