Flat Rock Journal: A Day in the Ozark Mountains

Overview

A memoir of place, relationships, and the hardships and delights of rural life, Ken Carey's journal of a daylong spiritual journey through the forest instills a sense of ancient geologic time, wonder for the natural environment, and a heartfelt appreciation for human nature. Situated exactly midway between the arctic and the equator are the Ozarks - some of the oldest mountains in the world. This wild and majestic place is where Ken Carey lives with his wife and family. Their rustic home in the outback of ...
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Overview

A memoir of place, relationships, and the hardships and delights of rural life, Ken Carey's journal of a daylong spiritual journey through the forest instills a sense of ancient geologic time, wonder for the natural environment, and a heartfelt appreciation for human nature. Situated exactly midway between the arctic and the equator are the Ozarks - some of the oldest mountains in the world. This wild and majestic place is where Ken Carey lives with his wife and family. Their rustic home in the outback of Missouri is the setting for Carey's reflections about his life and the natural world. Attention to detail, a childlike curiosity, and a delightful sense of humor characterize Carey's reminiscences that take him back to Chicago where he was born and through his years traveling across the country. Finally he follows his dream, and settles on a homestead where, down a long path and through a clearing, there is a hollow of mossy limestone called Flat Rock. This is a place of waterfalls, wild thunderstorms observed from the treetops, nightly jam sessions whistling with peeper frogs, cohabitation with deadly copperheads, and dueling water witches, who argue over where Ken should drill his well. Carey's love of his Ozark mountain home gives him the ability to engage in the kind of observation and unique insight that bring an appreciation of beauty and a simple, fresh perspective, on life.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Thoreau-voiced memoir of a day off spent recharging the author's batteries by his lonesome in the Ozark woods. With his wife Sherry and three teenagers, Carey (Return of the Bird Tribes—not reviewed) lives about 12 miles from the nearest Missouri town, which itself has upward of only 600 people. For the first seven years he lived on his Ozark hilltop, he went without radio, television, newspaper, plumbing or electricity, and, with his wife, spent 110% of each day raising and canning vegetables for their year-round food supply. Their kids were utterly amazed when after seven years a huge secondhand gas-burning refrigerator arrived and helped cut down on chores. Meanwhile, the author spends this yearly day off at a mossy limestone hollow called Flat Rock and tells us much about his yarrow tea, the wildly fluctuating weather, the fierce joy amid the jagged forks of a thunderstorm, and climbing a tree in the bone-chilling rain, and the weather within, a kind of spiritual animism that sees life as a cross- species experience to be shared by those who can shed their material form—a thought not distant from Emerson's transcendental Oversoul: "We come here, all of us, seeking a balance between energy and form, spirit and matter, between this sunlight and this clay... [A] part of me remembers these hills when they were dressed in virgin pine." Carey describes a mating romance among a trio of five-inch lizards as a battle of the dinosaurs not unlike the battle of the ants in Walden, and a nest of poisonous copperheads is allowed to propagate indoors under the refrigerator's gas flame. Most delightful is Carey's whistling a ditty from Handel to a pond of singing frogs, then a littleLed Zepplin and a few Grateful Dead riffs: "The frogs just eat it up." A model of moss-velvet nature writing, quite possibly a classic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816174331
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 6/1/1994
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 276

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