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Chelsea Green Blog

Flying Blind: Buckthorn, Bureaucracy & Bats

Flying Blind is more than just a story about one man’s battles with bats, buckthorn, authority and byzantine government regulations.

Celebrated author Howard Frank Mosher says Don Mitchell’s forthcoming memoir “does for rural New England what Wendell Berry’s essays do for Kentucky and Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It does for the American West.”

As the title suggests, the book is also about…bats. Not just any bats. Endangered bats. Or, as Mitchell first thinks of them — “flying rats.”

“On the few occasions when I’d actually seen a bat skitter through the night sky—flying with the crazy, unpredictable movements that call to mind the way a fox can dance across the land—my response was apprehensive,” writes Don Mitchell in the opening of his new book, Flying Blind. “Flying rats, they seemed to me.”

How could a man with such an aversion to these nightly creatures dedicate much of his post-retirement to their conservation, literally crawling on hands and knees to create a safe, nesting habitat?

It wasn’t easy. Flying Blind tells the story of Mitchell’s coming to terms with authority figures, whether in the form of his father or the federal government, as he navigates—mentally and physically—regulations, pesky invasives and ends up connecting deeply with a species that once gave him “the willies.”

Flying Blind is now available. Take 35% off through August 19, 2013.

Click below to view photos of Mitchell’s work at Treleven Farm:

Flying Blind Slide Show by Chelsea Green Publishing

Mosher, the author of Where the Rivers Flow North, and Walking to Gatlinburg, among other novels, notes that Flying Blind is “the story of how place, the past, family, and meaningful work can still form character at a time when much of America is increasingly alienated from nature, history, and community. Beautifully written, relentlessly honest, and unfailingly entertaining, Flying Blind is the book Don Mitchell was born to write.”

Join Don Mitchell for a Bat Walk

Interested in experiencing the book’s setting firsthand? Don is offering tours of the forest at Treleven Farm in Vermont to take readers through the bat zones, share his experiences and discuss Flying Blind. If you’re visiting the green mountains during leaf peeping season, stop by Don’s on a Saturday morning at 10am to take the 90-minute tour (last tour will be Saturday, November 2, 2013).

Read an excerpt from Flying Blind below.

Authority by Chelsea Green Publishing

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