Legends of the Common Stream
April | 2021
For over twenty years, John Hanson Mitchell has visited Beaver Brook almost daily. This small, slow-flowing Massachusetts stream was of vital importance for early settlers and an indispensable resource for the Native peoples who lived and fished along its shores, but it has been largely forgotten in our own time. Revisiting the river's oxbows, bends, and marshes over the course of a year, Legends of the Common Stream combines a natural history of Beaver Brook with a study of the people who lived on this land and a meandering, but stunning, examination of the myths and legends that can help us to better understand humanity's relationship to the natural world.While Mitchell never leaves the brook's shores, he draws from a range of traditions and takes readers on excursions to regions and cultures across the globe and across time, making the case that our contemporary separation from nature goes hand in hand with our alienation from the world of myth. This book seeks to restore these broken relationships and offers the reminder that while cultures may come and go, the stream goes on forever.