Saturday, April 21, 2012

Deep Country (global reading challenge #12)

while i am preparing for the mediterranean island, i am also getting ready to leave the next book in my series of  global reading challenge books - which was about the wilderness of mountains: Deep Country by Neil Ansell.

the book, i arrived at it through a blog note from Jean Morris in London, who wrote:

“I read with great pleasure this lovely book by Neil Ansell about his five years living alone, with birds, bats and beasts, in an remote cottage in the Welsh hills. Gently, spaciously written, with fine knowledge and perception of the natural world and of birds especially, this takes you right there - it's wonderful. As I began to read, though, I found myself wishing that he'd shared a little of what he'd been doing before, what took a thirty-year-old man to this isolated, basic rural life, why he stayed there for five years and why he left. Then: a quiet corrective. I'd been looking for the wrong things.

"Solitude did not breed introspection, quite the reverse. My days were spent outside, immersed in nature, watching. I saw as much as I did because of two things: the first, quite simply, was time, the long hours spent out in the field; the second was alertness, a state of heightened attentiveness. My attention was constantly focused away from myself and on to the natural world around me.”

it was the line abou the perception of the natural world and of birds especially that let me go and look for the book. i immediately could connect to that. going on nature walks, it's what we do every weekend, no matter the weather. here's a note from a recent walk:

rain again. we went for a walk anyway, despite the drizze, and it was a hushed atmosphere with almost no one out there, but birds, who chirped happily. then we saw 2 Milan birds, they are fascinating with their shilouette, and their posture. they are the princes of the sky, and they know it. a bit later, at the edge of the forest, there is a place with forest mice, and we made it a game to try and spot one. it’s easier each time.

back home, while being in different rooms, we both happened to look outside at the same time, and called out to each other, as we both saw one of the Milans, right here, circling over the gardens. i tried to take a photo and managed to catch two. “It’s like a gift,” i concluded, “to spot a wild animal, and also to catch it in a photo”.

the Ansell book, it directly relates to our walks, and our our own experience. it's the appreciation of nature, of details that easily go unnoticed that makes the book so fascinating. it also connects with the previous book i read: "Journal of a Solitude" by May Sarton.

two quotes from Deep Country:

On birds: "We watch them because of what they tell us about ourselves, and about our sense of what it means to be wild and free."

On seasons: "But the world doesn't stop and start. The seasons are not discrete, they have no true beginning and end, they merge into another and overlap, all part of the flow."

now, for the last pages of Deep Country.


Global + European Reading Challenge
In the read this year, i am taking part in a global and in an european reading challenge. the idea: to read books from each continent of the world / several countries of europe. so far i've been to:
- detour: World Book Day - books, reviews, links
- book 11: Stone Age Venus (Germany/Europe)
- book 10: Journal of  a Solitude (USA/America)
- book 9: Mexican Lives (Mexico/America)
- detour: the world in 7 books
- book 8: Tagore (India/Asia)
- book 7: Zarzura (Egypt/Africa)
- book 6: Jericho (Israel/Middle East)
- book 5: Ledra Street (Cyprus/Europe)
- book 4: Disappearance. A Map (Alaska/America)
- book 3: Paris was Ours (France/Europe)
- book 2: Anar (Middle East)
- book 1: The Tigers's Wife (former Yugoslavia/Europe)
- more books: virtual bookshelf
- about: the Global Reading Challenge


Shonna said...

I hadn't realized there was also a European Reading challenge. I'll have to look for that one as I always seem to finish Europe early.
This Welsh book looks like a great read.

Dorothee Lang said...

the Welsh books, it's a wonderful read - a bit like Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"

about the reading challenges: i hadn't known about them at all. it's the first time for me to take part.