Sunday, November 16, 2014

3 novels you won't want to miss

I’ve read 3 good books just recently, all different and so good I have to share. 

Who could resist this cover, and I can tell you for sure that the story inside more than delivers on its sweet promise. Hello Love by Karen McQuestion is a heartwarming and poignant story with engaging characters that had me smiling around the lump of worry in my throat. I always admire when a story does that, makes you laugh and fight tears.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is a new author for me, but her novel, Take Me With You won’t be the last that I read. The story about a man sentenced to jail for the summer as the result of driving under the influence and the unusual bargain he makes with another man regarding the care of his two young sons is different and makes for a very compelling read.

The Missing Place, Sophie Littlefield’s latest is just flat-out good suspense. Two young guys go missing from their oil rig jobs in the booming fields of North Dakota and two moms, polar opposites of one another, combine unlikely forces, putting themselves in jeopardy, to find them. I read this in nearly one sitting, heart aching and hopeful for these families, and the suspense never stopped until the final page.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The sky is so much bigger out here....

I was outside on my knees in the dirt, building a retaining wall out of rock harvested from the property for the planned front garden of the story house when I heard the geese. A fiddly breeze lifted sounds to me: a barking dog, the drone of a small-engine plane, the faint base notes of the music Chris and David listen to when they work--and then the geese. I heard them before catching sight of them. Their song brought me to my feet, had me backing up, scanning the sky that was in late afternoon a shade of endless blue. The geese came over the roof peak, their flight pattern a wishboned white ribbon limned in shades of gray and silver. I was lost, watching, hearing their ancient cries. In awe, not thinking in words, really, of the eternality of their ritual, but feeling it more as a resonation ... that it has gone on since time began and will continue long after I am gone. Seeing them, hearing them, never fails to touch some basic note within me, one that is as deep as bone, deeper even, and I understand, if only in that moment, the concept that is inherent in the word "eternal" and all else, all other noise, whatever there is of strife, is stilled. I feel joined to them and to the sky and the breath of the breeze that is from the very air that we--the geese and I--share.

This poem, from Mary Oliver, is one of my favorites. That line: Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air. . . 

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's curtains until spring

Today is a blowy day in the hill country. The sky is leaden, heavy with clouds. The wind whistles around the potting shed's corners. It's swept the porch clean, saving me the trouble. It carries David's and Chris's voices, up the hill from where they are working on David's house, the whinny of a horse, the cry of the hawk that's circling, riding the thermals, likely hunting, too. A front is predicted to move through in the next day or so, bringing rain and the colder breath of real fall. Somehow, out here, I feel it more than I did when I lived farther south. It's as if the wind is giving me notice to prepare, to brace myself.


The wind has made me think of curtains. I've left the windows of my little garden shed bare on purpose, open to the expanse of sky, the sweeping, tree-softened landscape ... a distant ridge of hills. While the weather was warm, I didn't mind it when night fell black against the windows. It was a thrill to look out and wonder at the moon sailing high amid the scattered luster of stars, so many stars. But now, somehow with winter coming on, I have ... not a wish, exactly, more like an instinct to cover the glass, closing out the wind and the night that falls so early. Even to see the cold face of the moon is not so compelling as the desire to feel tucked in, warm and snug. How it is that a wisp of fabric accomplishes all of that is beyond me, but it does. Curtains. In winter, its curtains ... until spring, I think....