I call the stream ours because our house is in its valley and a corner of our land touches the stream at a dramatic bend, and because my wife and our daughter (always in the company of our dogs) walk down to that bend every morning, every season. The stream is our point of contact with all the waters of the world.
Great blue herons, yellow birches, damselflies, and beavers are among the many runes by which Bill Roorbach discovers a universe of nature along the stream that runs by his home in Farmington, Maine. Populated by an oddball cast of characters to whom the generous-spirited Roorbach (aka “The Professor”) and his family might always be outsiders, these pages chronicle one man’s determination – sometimes with hilarious results – to follow his stream directly to its elusive source. Acclaimed essayist as well as award-winning author of fiction, Bill Roorbach brings his singular literary gifts to a book that is inspirational, funny, loving, and filled with the wonder of living side by side with the natural world.
Praise for Bill Roorbach “Roorbach falls, for me, into that small category of writers whose every book I must read, then reread.” —Jay Parini, author of The Apprentice Lover “Here is a narrator who makes you glad to be alive, giddy to be in his presence, grateful to love friends and family and dogs with generosity and abandon, to show tenderness and thus be saved by strangers.” —Melanie Rae Thon, author of First, Body
“Roorbach is a master at capturing and expressing joy.” —Hartford Courant
“Roorbach has a knack for tappinginto deep undercurrents and bringing them to the surface with the least amount of fanfare or fuss.” —L.A. Weekly
From the Hardcover edition.
Roorbach (Big Bend) takes readers on a journey in and around Temple Stream, which flows by his 1874 home near Farmington, Maine, about 40 miles northwest of Augusta. He records a series of forays along his stream, observing subtle environmental clues: the mix of trees, the types of garbage, the attitudes of local beavers, the varieties of birds and wildflowers. Sometimes his wife or their newborn baby accompanies him, sometimes neighbors, but more often just his two dogs. His essays on his perambulations sometimes include a dramatic incident-encounters with mountain man Earl or with the aptly named Ms. Bollocks-but usually there's just a single golden thought: for example, seeing caddis fly nets, he remembers calling them "wind socks" as a boy and then recalls a feeling he had, 40 years back, of being "late for dinner, all alone in his canoe, drifting homeward." Some themes thread through these essays: the progress of home improvements, his wife's pregnancy, his messages-in-a-bottle miraculously returned, his charting of Temple Stream back to its mysterious source. Roorbach's obvious delight in obscure phrasing-"streamside omphaloskepsis," "callipygian cowgirl"-should please literate stream walkers who enjoy a good browse in their dictionaries after a day's wander in the woods. Agent, Betsy Lerner. (Aug. 2) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.