The Nature of Things: Stories from the Land by Rex Alphin

 Nominated for 2012 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Non-Fiction 


 “There are a few of us who hear a subtle call that resonates with our fathers 
and grandfathers and great grandfathers. It is the call of the land…”

In over eighty original essays, Rex Alphin presents us with a folksy, contemplative view of the beauty and wonderment of everyday life in the rural South.

In these brief, introspective essays about his life as a farmer in Isle of Wight, Virginia, Alphin captures the simple moments of country life with the candor, grace and old-fashioned wit of a master storyteller. He writes about the rich experience of being connected to the land, about the joy and beauty of the seasons, and about the importance of the small but profound moments in life overlooked by so many. Watching a rain gauge fill after weeks of drought, digging peanuts, listening to old folks tell their stories, or remembering what it was like to fall in love the first time, Alphin discovers and shares those moments and the valuable lessons that come with them, reminding us of how astonishing life can be when we just pay attention. Underneath his descriptions of the death of a mule, the miracle of a kernel of corn growing eight feet tall, and teaching us the mysteries and beauty of farm life, we eavesdrop on a writer who, with the eagerness of a child, knows how to appreciate the power of simple things.

The Nature of Things: Stories from the Land offers a singular perspective that will remind you to pause, remember, and appreciate life and the world’s blessings.

About the Author

Rex Alphin has been a weekly columnist for The Tidewater News in Franklin, Virginia since 2006, where the essays appearing in this volume were previously published. In addition to being a blues harmonica player and a lover of Russian novels, he farms 1,000 acres of peanuts, corn, cotton and soybeans in southern Isle of Wight, Virginia on the Blackwater River—a farm his grandfather bought in the 1930s and where Rex grew up and has spent his life. This is his first essay collection.

Praise for The Nature of Things

“Rex Alphin writes through eyes that see the world uniquely. He looks at objects, people and scenes around him and sees life lessons, inspiration and hope for our world.”

-Dr. Michael Ponder

“At times musing upon a trifle of beauty or a bit of wonder, Rex Alphin’s writings have led me to that certain peace that comes of reflection. His is a road that we should travel more often.”

-Howie Soucek, Human Resources Manager, author and former teacher

“Thank you for your reflections of life in this rural area of Virginia. It brings a smile, a laugh, and even sometimes tears to my heart. I’m just a local country girl who loves the outdoors and the rural living of her childhood and adulthood.”

-Nancy Carr Greene, Associational Administrator & Disaster Relief Coordinator

“Having spent his entire life on a peanut farm in Isle of Wight County, Rex Alphin is eminently qualified to write about our connections to the land.  And he does so in The Nature of Things: Stories From the Land.

A collection of essays he has written for the Tidewater News in Franklin, The Nature of Things offers a wide range of selections, from dogs to pickup trucks to hard work, from mules to old folks to planting.  But these are not the musings found in a country song. Read More in Richmond Times-Dispatch “Book Notes”