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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Singing the Land: A Rural Chronology by Chila Woychik is a chronological collection of poetic year-in-the life essays about life on an Iowan farm. The author covers a kaleidoscope of experiences in the heartland, from rainstorms to farm animals to wild animals to snowstorms and more. As you go from month to month, starting in January of course, you get snapshot frames and widescreen visions of what life is like, what can be observed and experienced in nature, as well as the hidden wild that humans seldom see. The writing is lyrical and beautiful but has tinges of rawness and simplicity--all reflecting the myriad of feelings that the land, water, and air of this area can elicit. Images accompany the text, giving the book the feel of a photo essay on the environment as well.
Woychik's writing is reminiscent of ballads or epic poems. The imagery evoked is palpable. As you read, you too enter this world; perhaps by foot, perhaps by car--or maybe a bird in flight overhead or perched in the highest branch of a tree. Some take farmland and woodland for granted. Most don't know what it is, how it works, or how harsh/precious it is. But this book can help the outsider gain some insight, and help those accustomed to it find a renewed appreciation. As the reader passes through each season, you feel as though you age with the passage of time--this one year...ever-changing. Nothing stays the same, and life is more complex than we realize. The writing in this book can show you new faces of nature in ways you may never have imagined. Singing the Land: A Rural Chronology by Chila Woychik makes nature come to life--a must-have for your collection.