The Shepherd's Life

Book Notes



This book.

Highly recommended.

Unsurprising, given that it is a bestseller, but I hadn't heard of it before, and, well, it likely wouldn't have caught my attention at all except that Kris has been talking a lot about his desire for a sheep farm and Ryan Holiday recommended it in his last book newsletter. The serendipity of the two occurences caused me to pick up the book and I am very glad I did.

On the surface, Rebanks tells us about a year in the life of sheep farmer. Under the surface, he tells us about the world that has existed for centuries, about the world where boredom created by modern society doesn't exist, about the world where a community exists because the only way to survive is with that community intact, about the world that exists not the world that has been romanticized into a rom-com.

And Rebanks shows us what a life where you know who you are and where you want to be and what you want to do can be like.

I remember hiking at dusk one evening with Kevin, college-roommate-Lisa's boyfriend, to Sturtevant Falls, where we were planning on camping at the bottom (totally illegal, by the way). We were talking about a mutual friend who commented he didn't want to hear about the plight of some tribe somewhere because if he knew too much about them, he'd want to dedicate his life to helping them. My reaction was, "WOW, if that's the outcome, I would WANT to hear about them, imagine having something you're willing to dedicate your entire life to! That's something worth having!" Kevin's reaction to my reaction was, "I KNOW! I think the same."

The Shepherd's Life - Quotes

From The Shepherd's Life (worth reading!).

People here governed themselves, free of the aristocratic elites that dominated people’s lives elsewhere, and in Wordsworth’s eyes this provided a model for a good society. Wordsworth thought we mattered as a counterpoint to the commercial, urban, and increasingly industrial England emerging elsewhere.
Page 9

We are all influenced, directly or indirectly, whether we are aware of it or not, by ideas and attitudes to the environment from cultural sources.
Page 10

I can see our fields and a hundred jobs that I should be doing instead of idling up the fell.
Page 17