When Susan Hand Shetterly left the city with her family to move into a cabin in rural Maine in 1971, she had some experience with nature. She had always enjoyed a walk in the woods, but she had not yet heard the many sounds of stormy nights, seen predation, or stepped into sucking mud from which there seemed no escape. She recounts her own survival and the plight of wildlife in an increasingly suburbanized coastal community in Settled in the Wild: Notes from the Edge of Town.
Shetterly's notes are short, quick-to-the-point essays about the forces of nature. She tells us about the run of the alewives, the cracking of ice, the paving of an old country road, and the care of injured birds. I particularly enjoyed her tribute to a dead tree that served as home to many birds and insects. While not so spiritual as Annie Dillard, Shetterly still takes us with her into the marshes, woods, and shallow waves offshore to discover something worth preserving.
Settled in the Wild is a book I'd like to send to friends.
Shetterly, Susan Hand. Settled in the Wild: Notes from the Edge of Town. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2010. 240 p. ISBN 9781565126183.