This is a clear eyed look at a life Here you will find illness, divorce, fear you will also find hope, abiding love Walking Nature Home is a life s journey toward personal understanding in which Susan J Tweit transcends her small sense of Self in order to join larger truths every bit as tender and tough as the landscapes she so lovingly sketches Readers who enjoyed Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams and Homestead by Annick Smith will find here a voice of equal power, grace and intelligence. This is a beautifully written book I read it during weeks that I was dealing with my own autoimmune flare up I too always feel better after time spent with nature Her list of books in the appendix will keep me busy for months to come Thank you My husband and I have always loved Salida One of our most romantic memories comes from standing on the bridge over the river by the park Our kids have lived there over the years and our oldest son has settled there only a few blocks from Susan s place, I believe Thanks, Susan, for a beautiful book Without A Map, Navigate By The Stars Susan Tweit Began Learning This Lesson As A Young Woman Diagnosed With An Autoimmune Disease That Was Predicted To Take Her Life In Two To Five Years Offered No Clear Direction For Getting Well Through Conventional Medicine, Tweit Turned To The Natural World That Was Both Her Solace And Her Field Of Study As A Plant Ecologist Drawing Intuitive Connections Between The Natural Processes And Cycles She Observed And The Functions Of Her Body, Tweit Not Only Learned Healthier Ways Of Living But Also Discovered A Great Truth Love Can Heal In This Beautifully Written, Moving Memoir, She Describes How Love Of The Natural World, Of Her Husband And Family, And Of Life Itself Literally Transformed And Saved Her Own LifeIn Tracing The Arc Of Her Life From Young Womanhood To Middle Age, Tweit Tells Stories About What Silence And Sagebrush, Bird Bones And Sheep Dogs, Comets, Death, And One Crazy Englishman Have To Teach Us About Living She Celebrates Making Healthy Choices, The Inner Voices She Learned To Hear On Days Alone In The Wilderness, The Joys Of Growing And Eating An Organic Kitchen Garden, And The Surprising Redemption In Restoring A Once Blighted Neighborhood Creek Linking Her Life Lessons To The Stories She Learned In Childhood About The Constellations, Tweit Shows How Qualities Such As Courage, Compassion, And Inspiration Draw Us Together And Bind Us Into The Community Of The Land And Of All Living Things See my review here A memoir written by a scientist botanist , rocky mountain resident, and outdoor enthusiast who is diagnosed with undifferentiated connective tissue disease at a young age While in grad school UW, Susan is told she has 2 5 years to live This book follows her journey with this illness Her stories about personal health battles are artfully paralelled with great nature writing and examples of how her health is vastly improved by reducing stress, exercising, medidating, worshipping she is Quaker , and following her heart She takes a highly scientific, analytical approach to seeking alternative healing solutions because she has adverse reactions to many traditional medications This book is highly recommended to anyone interested in autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammatory disease, but who also loves and appreciates everything wild. I was moved and delighted by this book The author felt like a friend on the journey with me as I traveled back and forth between two states to care for my dad, who is dying Susan Tweit has written a compelling story of the power of nature to heal from serious illness She uses her extraordinary knowledge of plant ecology and science to become part of the community of the land , a deep feeling of connection in the world Tweit also weaves revealing personal episodes into this complex memoir, balancing them with her field of study, her knowledge of the stars in the night sky the chapter headings are the names of constellations and their particular attributes , and fascinating specifics about the serious medical conditions she faced Once I began the book, I couldn t put it down I felt honored to be allowed into her life, to learn of how she faced her pain and struggle and how she came to understand that only love of people, of the earth, and finally, of herself would save her Never maudlin, this book is beautifully written and conceived It is also filled with light humor and joy What a gift to a reader like me looking for just this combination of gifts. I borrowed this book about a woman s journey through her autoimmune disease from Heidi She didn t make it all the way through It is a very personal journey and the author, Susan Tweit, does go into a lot of detail If I hadn t schlepped this book all the way out to South Dakota, I don t know that I would have finished it either It was interesting to hear about the different things that went wrong with her body as it deteriorated I wish she had talked about her lifestyle changes but mostly she just talked about doing yoga Somewhat stream of consciousness, this book weaves several stories, mostly from her past Seems like a cathartic book, written for the author than the reader. Picked it up when a friend was diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease She was scared, and the only book the library had was a biography of a woman s first several years with the disease My friend didn t want to read it, so I fell on that grenade.It was okay As a biography of someone with that disease as the cataloging in data would suggest , it was only about 15% relevant to its subject The rest of the book is about her love life, her spiritual life, her family life, and odd bits of astronomy I didn t find any of that interesting at all but I picked it up for one specific reason She s also a big flaky for my taste, but that s just me The deepest memoir is filled with metaphor Maureen Murdock, Unreliable Truth Walking Nature Home A Life s Journey is one of those rare memoirs that is much than a life s story as if that were not enough It is a memoir that not only tells us about a lifetime s worth of experiences, but shows us how experience is shaped by knowledge, how knowledge is experienced through nature, and how nature can guide a human being to a fuller, healthier understanding of her place in the world.The constellations are the most important guiding metaphor of this elegantly crafted book Throughout her life, Susan Tweit has oriented herself by the stars, using them to remind herself where she is in space and time I and all the other lives on Earth are connected to the stars So it is natural for her to use the constellations as chapter markers in her life s journey, from Orion the courageous her stellar talisman to Virgo the unowned one, own woman, belonging to none , to the familiar Dipper you can chart your course by it Each of these stellar constellations creates a constellation of meanings and significance in Tweit s life, marking, defining, charting, guiding.And she needed their guidance, for at twenty three, married to her college sweetheart and already embarked on an exciting career as a plant ecologist, Tweit learned that she was suffering from an autoimmune disease that the doctor told her would claim her life within five years Learning to live with that diagnosis, learning to treat her illness as the subject of research demanded of her than she thought she could give But she borrowed strength from Orion, a sense of self from Virgo, and the help of the other constellations And as she learned about her illness, she understood that it was not the end of life, but the first step toward becoming herself.The title of Tweit s memoir, Walking Nature Home, offers another important metaphor for her life Throughout the book, walking is not only a powerful image for purposeful forward movement Orion striding across the black heavens , but for her own growing confidence and personal independence walking away from her first marriage, for instance or making an arduous week long, hundred mile trek, with a dog for companionship, through the Wyoming mountains Walking the days alone, she says, forced me to pay attention If I kept my awareness tuned within, I might yet hear what I needed to understand my health and, importantly, my life And years later, walking with her new stepdaughter Molly allowed them to develop a caring, trusting relationship Walking gave us a territory of our own, a place we could start fresh, away from the disputes that regularly rocked our household Rambling with no agenda forced Molly and me to leave our baggage at home Walking provided time together, and it got us outside to learn the landscape where we lived As the book comes full circle, we find Tweit watching Orion again, strengthened by the love of a man who shares her understanding of the wholeness of nature, in the home they are building themselves on a half block of decaying industrial property in a small Colorado mountain town, where together they have restored a ravaged creek to health Health, restoration another constellation of metaphors here.But that s enough You really must read the book Author Interview Okay, this is one of my favorite books, and even when I m broke I buy copies to give to people It s a beautifully envisioned and written account of finding, and trusting, ourselves and our places in this world I could wax poetic, or I could give you the bare bones outline, but there is no way to summarize this book that does it justice Just make space in your life for the gift, some time soon, of reading it.
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- 177 pages
- Walking Nature Home: A Life's Journey (Louann Atkins Temple Women & Culture Series)
- Susan J. Tweit
- 21 January 2019 Susan J. Tweit