While there’s no way I can read every book I add to the collection of the Davies Memorial Library, from time to time I’ll share my thoughts about a book I found particularly interesting.
An armchair journey to the Lakes District in the north of England, Rebanks’ book is an almanac of the seasons on a sheep farm where he raises ancient breeds suited to this particular landscape on land where his ancestors have been at it for a thousand years. It’s a harsh landscape, both familiar and exotic. Perhaps his description of the coming of spring will resonate:
“I understand why people once worshipped the sun and had countless festivals to celebrate spring and the end of winter. It is this endurance in a place throughout everything that nature throws at it, year in, year out, that shapes our relationship with this place. We are weathered like the mountain ash trees that grow here. They bend away from the wind and are battered, torn, and twisted. But they survive here, through it all, and they belong here because of it. That weathering makes us what we are.
‘So you live for those little signs that you’ve outlasted it, the point when the days lengthen in March or April and the days eventually warm up, the fields turn marginally greener, and the sheep suddenly lose interest in hay as the grass begins to grow. Grass is everything. We see a thousand shades of green, like the Inuit see different kinds of snow.'”