SETTLED IN THE WIND by Susan Hand Shetterly


Notes from the Edge of Town
Email this review


An intimate guided tour of the woods and waterways of rural Maine.

After a brief early childhood in Manhattan, naturalist and children’s-book author Shetterly (Shelterwood, 1999, etc.) and family moved to a large colonial house in Connecticut surrounded by natural beauty. In these open environs, the budding naturalist explored the wilderness and learned something of the isolating yet communal human experience available in wild spaces. In 1971, the author moved with her husband to a small cabin on a 60-acre lot in southeast Maine and started a family. The marriage didn’t last, but what endured was Shetterly’s passion for this rural area and its inhabitants: moose, hares, hummingbirds, snapping turtles, bobcats, turkeys, deer, loons, seals, cormorants, coyotes and a smattering of rugged humans. The author marks seasons by ice’s halting progress across a wide lake or a flock of geese buzzing her open window on their way north on a cold April night. The aching tension between humankind’s brief, greedy chronology and nature’s timeless immediacy underlies much of Shetterly’s experiences. She lives deeply in her rough, adopted home, digging into local history and lore, ultimately recognizing the best of her years as a bucolic lull between the area’s agrarian past and its future as a population center. She notes the interplay of humanity and wilderness through fishing, forestry, conservation, preservation, hunting, trapping, development and wildlife rehabilitation, but also in quiet, personal appreciation. Shetterly is a less verbose Thoreau, allowing nature’s wisdom to seep through her simple yet thorough observations.

A soft wind stirring the leaves on trees marked for removal.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-56512-618-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2009