mroach@marthastewart dot com any longer?
I have lived in Vermont for 30 years on a dirt road, up a long, unplowed driveway, pulling a sled with groceries, heating my house with a single wood stove, and making a garden. When I speak about living in the country, I feel confident, I know what I am talking about.
Margaret Roach is a force. She is authentic, intelligent, well-read, well-traveled, well-humored, well-googled and she can definitely put two or three words together without taking herself too seriously. I have heard her speak, read A Way To Garden, and regularly visit her website. I like the whole package. I pre-ordered And I Shall Have Some Peace There and waited for the volume to arrive.
I finished the book in two sittings. It’s only 260 pages and a fast read.
“How did I go from SHE WHO LIVES IN THE WORLD to she Who Lives in the Woods, navigating a slow route between the West Side Highway and Valley View Road, where instead of potholes, ruts deeper than the wheel wells shape up to punctuate multiple mud seasons each year?”
How she left her corporate job, moved to the country and made a new life for herself is the subject of this new book. It is her homage to a “post-paycheck life.” Margaret Roach is honest about her struggle to live in a small house, with no partner, no friends (at first) just a cat. Margaret describes her journey:“jumping ship from a luxury liner into a lopsided-but-nevertheless-floating rowboat.” There is more about the weather in this book than about the garden. Birds, frogs and snakes are given long passages, well-researched passages.
Buddha, Joseph Campbell, May Sarton.
All quoted in Margaret’s book.
At a certain point, Margaret’s new life really begins. From this point on, the book is about LIVING, paying attention, taking a breath and understanding…”there is no where to be but here.” Roach makes a list of changes: bedtime enjoyable, no dread of Sunday night, essential handheld device idle, tasks related to food pleasurable, meditative quality to living.
living inside my head
living too much inside my intellect
I couldn’t help comparing the role of writing in my life (although, I am sure I don’t succeed) with Margaret’s. Writing is exactly what I find centers and organizes my thoughts. It’s all about ATTENTION. It’s about connecting the dots. It takes restlessness and turns it into quietness.
Margaret Roach has found her there. I found mine a long time ago. It’s peace in the world and in my own head that has proved a lot more elusive.
Margaret Roach ON GARDENING:
“To be a gardener is to come face-to-face with powerlessness (not something written anywhere in the corporate mission statements of Martha or my two previous employers), and to cultivate patience as actively as you do botanical things.”
Things will die.”
“…Whatever you don’t kill makes you stronger, though and hungrier for more plants and then some more, and so this imprint deepens: Curiosity becomes interest, interest becomes hobby, hobby becomes passion, passion becomes life’s work, and even spiritual pursuit – the stuff of the heart.”