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Settled in the Wild: Notes from the Edge of Townby Susan Han Shetterly
Synopses & Reviews
Whether we live in cities, suburbs, or villages, we are encroaching on nature, and it in one way or another perseveres. Naturalist Susan Shetterly looks at how animals, humans, and plants share the land--observing her own neighborhood in rural Maine. She tells tales of the locals (humans, yes, but also snowshoe hares, raccoons, bobcats, turtles, salmon, ravens, hummingbirds, cormorants, sandpipers, and spring peepers). She expertly shows us how they all make their way in an ever-changing habitat.
In writing about a displaced garter snake, witnessing the paving of a beloved dirt road, trapping a cricket with her young son, rescuing a fledgling raven, or the town's joy at the return of the alewife migration, Shetterly issues warnings even as she pays tribute to the resilience that abounds.
Like the works of Annie Dillard and Aldo Leopold, Settled in the Wild takes a magnifying glass to the wildness that surrounds us. With keen perception and wit, Shetterly offers us an education in nature, one that should inspire us to preserve it.
"'I live on land that has not surrendered the last of its wildness,' Shetterly (The New Year's Owl: Encounters with Animals, People and the Land They Share) writes of her home in rural Maine. 'It keeps secrets, and those secrets prompt us to pay attention, to look for more.' In her first essay collection in more than 20 years, she beautifully renders some of what she's learned in the decades since she and her then husband moved into an unfinished cabin — 'idealistic, dangerously unprepared, and, frankly, arrogant, she can see now.' Most of these essays, however, focus on life after she's settled in, when she's learned to listen for the sounds of the coming spring through her open bedroom window or impulsively stands down a bobcat that's chased a baby rabbit into the middle of the road. Shetterly's eye for poetic detail is exquisite, especially in longer essays such as the story of how she nursed an injured raven back to health, after which it set up home on her roof and became best friends with her terrier. But she writes about her neighbors (even those she admits she never really knew) with equal grace and empathy. Let's hope it's not another quarter-century before her next collection arrives." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Susan Hand Shetterly, a former wild bird rehabilitator, has written about wildlife and wildlands for over twenty years. She is the author of the essay collection The New Year's Owl and several children's books. She was a contributing writer to the Maine Times and her pieces have appeared in Birder's World, Audubon Magazine, Yankee, and Down East.
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