Living Up There is a memoir of time lived mostly at 10,000 feet in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in a home-made cabin. Inimitably personal, it is written with the sensibility of a loving field biologist and human wonderer.
This audiobook holds obvious relations with two literary-cultural traditions: first, that of journal memoirs of days spent intentionally removed from the speed and ease and at least some of the understood contracts of "civilization," two of whose best known for bears are Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; and second, that of retreat to the natural basis of the world following the attainment of certain age and completion of responsibility cycles of family and livelihood.
A guiding metaphor for the audiobook's overall spirit comes from Wodening's contemplation of deep connections operating between apparently individual existences. While working as a tour guide in Mojave Desert, she learns of creosote as an underground system of progressively radiating sucker plants so that, "like mushrooms, it is not really what shows above ground that is the individual. What shows above ground is reaching out to sun and air and produces viable seed but it is feeding the root, and it's the root that carries on, spreads, [as] in the case of the aspen, across a mountainside for, yes, millennia, if nothing stops it."
©2008 Jane Wodening (P)2010 Jane Wodening