Transcribing this introduction--word by word, restraining myself from editing, where I find the prose repetitive, and allowing myself to sink into the flow of my dad's voice as he prefaces the story to come, has been something close to magical. I can, quite literally, hear him speaking; swimming in the nostalgia and reliving his love affair with Wellington, the land, the ideal. It is as though he is mentally walking through the woods and gardens, describing them to us and himself in song of lush, loving detail. I am struck, softly, and with great force by the depth of his intimacy with the landscape.
I found his description of the actual events and direct consequences of his fall and injury the tightest and most intense piece of writing in the introduction. He makes no apologies, wastes no words--it is compelling, also humorous and tough-minded. Its a nice counter balance to the sweet-swampy idealism of his homesteading-dream, honey bees and migrating geese balladeskery of the previous 4 pages. We get a sense here of what we're in for humor and cynicism, yes, hard realizations and realities, certainly, rooted in his crazy-deep and pervasive awe.