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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

March 06, 1994|ERIKA TAYLOR

FLAT ROCK JOURNAL: A Day in the Missouri Ozarks by Ken Carey ( Harper San Francisco: $18; 224 pp.) Ken Carey communicates intimately with the trees and animals sharing his eighty acres in the Missouri Ozarks. A pine tree provides a vision of loggers, a raven explains bird consciousness. For the skeptics among us, much of "Flat Rock Journal," Carey's chronicles of the extreme joys and hardships of rural life, may seem a little hundy-gundy. But for those interested in the spiritual aspects of nature, this book is a real find.

Ken Carey's modesty, kindness and intelligence emanate so gracefully from every page that even if you don't believe all of what he says, there is still a great deal to be learned from the man himself. And Carey can write. "The sun will not shine again at this angle until this precise minute of the hour one year from today. But conditions that day are not likely to duplicate this same amount of humidity, this same cloud pattern or air temperature. This is the first time I have walked this path, the first time I have seen these trees."

Another wonderful aspect "Flat Rock Journal" is the surprising humor. In one section Carey, having been in the woods for a long time, absent-mindedly sharpens his chain saw on a public bus. State troopers are called. In another chapter that works beautifully as its own set piece, he whistles along with singing frogs in the hopes of expanding their musical capability.

At the heart of "Flat Rock Journal," is one man's reverence for the miraculous nature of life, a reverence that flows as sweet and clear as the Ozark spring water he so lovingly describes.

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