‘Zoro’s Field’ author, Thomas Rain Crowe, to speak at Saluda Library

Published 11:45 am Friday, May 3, 2024

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Former Saluda resident, Thomas Rain Crowe, will return to the area to speak about a book he published almost two decades ago. Crowe wrote “Zoro’s Field: My Life in the Appalachian Woods” about his time living just outside of Saluda.

Crowe will speak at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at the Saluda Library for a program that will be an interesting mix of literature and local history.

The book was published in 2005 by the University of Georgia Press. According to its website, it won the Ragan Old North State Award (North Carolina Literary and Historical Association) and the Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award (Southern Environmental Law Center).

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This program came about because Paul Rhodes, a Saluda native and staff member at Saluda Library, was featured in two editions of the “So Saluda Newsletter” talking about his friendship with Crowe. In fact, Rhodes is featured in several pages of “Zoro’s Field.”

Rhodes and “So Saluda Newsletter” article author Jeanne Ferran led the effort to invite Crowe to Saluda to discuss his memoir, which documents his time living in the woods outside Saluda and his ongoing friendship with Rhodes.

Here’s a description of the book from the publisher:

“After a long absence from his native southern Appalachians, Thomas Rain Crowe returned to live alone deep in the North Carolina woods. This is Crowe’s chronicle of that time when, for four years, he survived by his own hand without electricity, plumbing, modern-day transportation, or regular income. It is a Walden for today, paced to nature’s rhythms and cycles and filled with a wisdom one gains only through the pursuit of a consciously simple, spiritual, environmentally responsible life.

“Crowe made his home in a small cabin he had helped to build years before—at a restless age when he could not have imagined that the place would one day call him back. The cabin sat on what was once the farm of an old mountain man named Zoro Guice. As we absorb Crowe’s sharp observations on southern Appalachian natural history, we also come to know Zoro and the other singular folk who showed Crowe the mountain ways that would see him through those four years.

“Crowe writes of many things: digging a root cellar, being a good listener, gathering wood, living in the moment, tending a mountain garden. He explores profound questions on wilderness, self-sufficiency, urban growth, and ecological overload. Yet we are never burdened by their weight but rather enriched by his thoughtfulness and delighted by his storytelling.”

The Saluda Library is located at 44 W. Main St. in downtown Saluda.