After many years of limited commitments to people or places,
writer and naturalist John Lane married in his late forties and
settled down in his hometown of Spartanburg, in the South Carolina
piedmont. He, his wife, and two stepsons built a sustainable home
in the woods near Lawson's Fork Creek. Soon after settling
in, Lane pinpointed his location on a topographical map. Centering
an old, chipped saucer over his home, he traced a circle one mile
in radius and set out to explore the area.
What follows from that simple act is a chronicle of
Lane's deepening knowledge of the place where
he'll likely finish out his life. An accomplished hiker
and paddler, Lane discovers, within a mile of his home, a variety
of coexistent landscapes--ancient and modern, natural and manmade.
There is, of course, the creek with its granite shoals, floodplain,
and surrounding woods. The circle also encompasses an
eight-thousand-year-old cache of Native American artifacts, graves
of a dozen British soldiers killed in 1780, an eighteenth-century
ironworks site, remnants of two cotton plantations, a
hundred-year-old country club, a sewer plant, and a smattering of
mid- to late twentieth-century subdivisions.
Lane's explorations intensify his bonds to family,
friends, and colleagues as they sharpen his sense of place. By
looking more deeply at what lies close to home, both the ordinary
and the remarkable, Lane shows us how whole new worlds can open
Subjects: Population Studies, Environmental Science
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