“…Mitchell knows his plants and animals as certainly as any expert ecologist. But he stalks different game. He’s after the shadows of older ways of seeing, something latent in the antique term `natural history’ but deeper.”
---- New York Times Book Review
Living at the End of Time
Houghton Mifflin, 1980
This is the story of a return to the land --- not to the wilds of Alaska, but to the suburbs outside of Boston. On the still undeveloped square mile of forest and farmland known as Scratch Flat, Mitchell constructed a one roomThoreauvian cottage and lived there for two years without running water or electricity. His intention was to explore the curious relationship between place, nature, and the fast expanded technologies. His neighbors consisted mostly of foxes, owls, and deer, but he also encountered on his square mile, a number of extraordinary people who regarded the modern world with the same suspicion he did. Partly through his reading of Thoreau and his encounters with nature and these local eccentrics, he grew increasingly obsessed with time and place, and came to understand that every landscape, even those in suburbia, holds mystery and wonder.