Going to Ground: Simple Life on a Georgia Pondby Amy Blackmarr
Unfulfilled by city life, Amy Blackmarr, then in her mid-thirties, sold her thriving paralegal business and returned to her Georgia roots. She passed five years in her grandfather's remote "old scarecrow of a fishing cabin" beside a South Georgia pond, where she immersed herself in her surroundings and in her writing. With warmth, charm, and humor, Blackmarr mixes vignettes from her past with reflections on the present, describing the surprising generosity of strangers; life without hot America. These stories trigger a kind of religious awakening in Ehrlich, who--as she moves tentatively toward reclaiming the heritage she rejected as a young woman--gains a new appreciation of life's possibilities, choices, and limitations.
In Walden, the prototypical "pond tale," Thoreau says he went to the woods so as not to discover, when he came to die, that he had not lived. Blackmarr decided several years ago to quit her Kansas business and move back home to southern Georgia and a fishing-cabin retreat, with two dogs for constant companions; and in a deliberate echo of Thoreau, she says she did not want to wake up regretting, 30 years later, that she had not done the things she'd always wanted to doin particular, to write and to be near her grandmother, MaRe. Blackmarr's metaphor of discovery and of connectedness to her grandfather's landher "ground"is evoked throughout, but most literally in scenes that frame her story: first, her watching her "hard-bodied little gray dog" Max digging a cave in the dirt outside her cabin, and later, her dog Queenie's death and burial. Though not a traditional believer, she nevertheless does occasionally go looking "for God sign, like a good tracker." The author, who herself describes this work as "less narrative than scene, less word than imageless explanation than experience," is only selectively present in this memoir: as writer, hunter, arrowhead collector. That Blackmarr currently lives in a treehouse indicates she has not yet finished her quest.
But when she describes her cabin's view of light glittering on the water, "catching on the wet backs of turtles and in the feathery tops of the pale, tall grasses around the banks," and says "I am my grandmother's voice," readers are likely to hear this as a welcome invocation, and to fall effortlessly under the entrancing spell of her words.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.41(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.76(d)
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