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Green Trails and Upland Pastures: 07/28/19
I ran into Green Trails and Upland Pastures by Walter Prichard Eaton by way of its illustrations. They were posted on Tumblr and were so beautifully rendered that I decided to track down the book to see the illustrations in context. As it turned out, the book was available on the Internet Archive.
Walter Prichard Eaton (1878-1957) worked as a drama critic. I suppose learning about drama and being able to write about it in an educated fashion gave him the idea that he could write. I've read enough other contemporary travelogues and pastoral pieces to know the typical style.
Green Trails and Upland Pastures is actually a collection of personal essays on the beauty of American nature. The essays were also published separately in a number of magazines: Scribner's, Harper's, and The New Country Life. These different audiences and editorial styles, also helps to explain the vast differences in tone.
The book opens with essays on the different seasons of rural New England. The chapter on spring enthusiastically outlines the two different springs: mud season and tourist season. It was here that I started to doubt my choice to read through this tome during the very busy summer of selling a home.
The mud season — especially — I had already read, in a more succinct version in the early chapters of Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick. It left me with a satisfactory appreciation for how snow becomes mud — so reading an entire essay dedicated for mud for mud's sake just wasn't on my list of things to do.
I did, though, make it further than the spring chapter. Later essays are about a trip he took to the Rocky Mountains. While his travels took him to close to where we had traveled (Wyoming — the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks) offered a fond familiarity, even there he seemed to vomit out five words for ever one that was actually needed.
Some day, though, when I don't have anything else better to do, I might revisit this book. Maybe I'll read an essay and then set the book aside for a month before settling in for the next essay.