I really, really liked it.
I don't read a lot of personal essays -- not by design, they just don't generally catch my eye in my regular reading. But this was a great book to change up my reading habits a bit. The tone of the book is slow. By that I mean, it makes you slow down and really appreciate each word. Kishkan is talking about the natural world, and about the things she observes about the wild animals and the trees and plants all around her. She also talks about relationships, living and dying and everything in between. I was moved, and shaken out of my rapid, shallow appraisal of the world around us that we can so easily fall into in a busy, urban life.
Each essay is a complete work on its own; this would be a book you could read slowly between other works. Read one, think on it a bit, then read another. The writing itself is clear and memorable, bringing to life small acts of everyday living, moments that matter in their specific smallness. Kishkan doesn't say that the woods are autumnal; she says that the broadleaf maple and the salmonberry bushes are losing leaves. She ties together the natural world and family cycles; she ranges from astronomy to quilting; she has a lovely essay about her time living in Ireland as a young woman. Some parts made me cry, some made me feel deeply comforted. It is a beautiful, honest book and I would recommend it to anyone with a sense of the importance of paying attention in your life.