The Road Washes Out in Spring

The Road Washes Out in Spring

Orem, Tina
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The Road Washes Out in Spring: A Poet’s Memoir of Living Off the Grid
Baron Wormser
University Press of New England

This is an enchanting memoir of the author’s two decades in the woods of Maine with his wife and children. Part of the 1960s back-to-the-land movement, Wormser explains how he and his wife built their house, grew their food, raised children, and lived without electricity or running water. They didn't completely recede from society—Wormser still drove his Subaru to his teaching job every day, and he and his wife were involved in the town council, made friends with neighbors, visited family, saw a movie here and there, and whatnot.

The urges of a rebellious generation and Transcendentalist ideas about living deliberately may have fueled the author’s lifestyle, but they didn’t come without self-doubt, and his constant questioning of his minimalism is perhaps the best hook of all. A poet, Wormser is a descriptive writer who takes a “how we did it” topic and adds the crucial “how we felt about it” element that makes the book engaging and relatable, particularly for readers here in the Last Best Place—many of whom have also left the “real world” in search of a life that is simpler, more meaningful, and closer to the land. As the author says on page 39, “We figured that, since everyone was busy getting ahead, there was room for us to stay behind to savor the breeze and go blackberry picking.” Amen to that.
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