A Naturalist's Cabin

Cathy Ann Johnson, Author Plume Books $12.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-452-26648-3
In this enthusiastic account, Johnson ( The Local Wilderness ) details her experience building a cabin in the Missouri woods on an 18-acre ``microcosm of landscape.'' Exploring an area of land one day, Johnson happens upon a lovely pond--its rich environs form a ``naturalist's playground''--and convinces her husband of the spiritual necessity of owning this piece of paradise. Intending to use the land as ``a place to be alone and think'' as well as a sort of organic laboratory in which to ``discover the small changes that move across the face of the Earth,'' the author is gradually overpowered by her long-held desire to ``fashion her own nest . . . in the woods.'' Johnson relates her story with painstaking meticulousness, describing virtually every movement and feeling related to her experience, sometimes using metaphors far too grandiose for such a simple purpose (``The idea of building took hold like an infection and ran rampant through my system, setting my veins on fire.''). One has to admire the author's commitment both to the environment and to her personal goals, yet the reader, often mired in the minutiae of it all, may not always share her zeal. Illustrations not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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