I love going to library book sales as the piles of books at my house will attest. At one of them I found a book called “A Country Year” by Sue Hubbell.
I had previously found a copy of her “On This Hilltop” and enjoyed the essays in it very much. Finding another book of her essays was nice.
I looked forward to reading “A Country Year” but somehow it ended up on the bottom of a stack then shoved into a bookcase. It languished there until I went browsing for a book to read.
Sue Hubbell lived not that far from where I do now in the Ozarks. She lived alone for twelve years making a living as a commercial bee keeper. “A Country Year” is about the people and her area of the Ozarks.
Some are reflections on the beauty of the area. They are walks out along and down the river bluff where she lived. The microclimates she writes about are found here as well making it possible to find a bit of spring during the heart of winter.
Others essays are about how people think and behave. One was interesting as it got at the heart of what, around here, was the terrible over reach of the government in setting up the Ozark Rivers Scenic Riverways.
The park brings in lots of tourists both good and bad. It sets regulations on how many canoe rental places can operate. It sets up behavior guidelines.
In town people complain about the land acquisition, the rules and government run amok. They don’t think about the jobs or the money. They don’t think about the large increase in people using the river or how clean it is now. They forget the government stepped in when they were trying to dam the river for a recreational lake.
Several essays are about keeping bees. One poor helper declares he will never have arthritis in his lower regions after one round with upset bees. Anecdotally bee stings are supposed to ease or prevent arthritis.
“A Country Year” is a lovely book of essays on living out away from the city on a shoe string budget. It’s about something most people today never get the time to do, meet and understand themselves in the quiet nature provides. Perhaps this is the best part of the book. Most of the essays carry that quiet and reflection in their words giving a respite after a hectic day.