HERE AT RED CANYON…
We woke at 4:00 a.m. to discover it was raining, our first rainstorm of the year. Starlight was shining through gaps in the clouds, and the air was fragrant with the mingled scents of wet earth and drenched junipers. What all that means is that, for the moment, spring has arrived.
The thing about northern Wyoming, however, is that you may have a lovely few days in March, but they are inevitably followed by subzero temperatures, so we never put away our down coats until the end of May. Still, green grass and wildflowers are erupting everywhere. The hills have a faintly green shade and the buffalo have started to shed their heavy winter coats.
We’ve been fixing fence for the past few days. When winter snow banks start to melt, we can finally see where the fence has been knocked down by jumping deer and elk, and know it’s time to get the repairs done before the buffalo see the downed wire, and say to themselves, “Hey, the grass IS greener on the other side of the fence.”
You might think fixing fence sounds onerous, but the truth is, we really enjoy it. We get to hike up high and gaze out over the Owl Creek range and the Absaroka mountain range. At this time of year, both are snow-capped and brilliant in the sunlight. But down in the vast valley bottoms, the colors are variegated, green, brown, gray, and red. The red streaks are the stems of willows that follow the drainages. Wildlife is everywhere, deer, antelope, elk, and moose can be seen grazing in the distance. On occasion we see a bear, and we almost always find fresh mountain lion tracks in the mud or lingering patches of snow.
Of course, living at the edge of a great wilderness has its disadvantages--no phone service at home, the road is often impassable, the many of the predators are way bigger than we are—but if a person has any adventure in his/her soul, wild country is like a drug. It gets into your veins and you’re never quite sane again, never quite happy without yawning vistas of an untamed world.
WHAT WE’RE READING…
J.K Huysmans, Lydwine of Schiedam.
The Life of J.K. Huysmans, by Robert Baldick.
Huysmans’ ideas have been relevant lately, especially with the turmoil going on in the world. We tend to see things in light of the spiritual traditions of the native peoples, and are especially drawn to the Lakota concept that “We are all related,” a concept that means far more than human relatives. It’s a concept of relatedness with the whole world, humans, animals, plants, rocks, the sun, moon and stars. The Lakota mean that everything is related, and because of that, we are all responsible for one another. Which is why Huysmans’ writings have been interesting.
At one point Huysmans was asked by a sick woman if he could throw light “however uncertain, upon the mystery of suffering,” and Huysmans wrote:
“It is quite certain that two laws, of which it knows little or nothing, govern humanity: the law of solidarity in evil and the law of reversibility in good; solidarity in Adam, and reversibility in our Lord. In other words, everyone is responsible to a certain extent for the sins of others and must to a certain extent expiate them; and everyone can also attribute the virtues they possess to those who possess none or can acquire none. …God wished Jesus to give the first example of mystical substitution—the substitution of one who owes nothing for those who owe everything. Jesus in turn wishes certain souls to accept the legacy of his sacrifice and, in the words of St. Paul, complete what is lacking in his Passion. For in fact Christ could no longer suffer by himself after his Crucifixion. His mission was fulfilled with the shedding of his blood. If he wishes to continue suffering here on earth, he can do this only in the members of his mystical body.”
And Dostoevski wrote, “We are all responsible (or guilty) in relation to each other, and I more than all the rest.”
At some point, the “law of solidarity in evil” must give way to the concept of responsibility to one another and to the realization that because everything is related, when we hurt another, we all hurt—don’t you think?
We hope so.
ON THE BOOK FRONT…
Our wonderful publisher has been running a “book giveaway” of PEOPLE OF THE WOLF on Goodreads.com. Even if you already have the book, please sign up. If you win, please give it away. Books are the best gifts.
Our first novella, COPPER FALCON, will be available on March 27, 2014, for .99 cents! We hope you enjoy it. We certainly had fun writing it. The novella is a prequel to PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR, which comes out in May. What a fun way to introduce a novel!
We will doing several signings for PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR. Here’s what we know so far:
• May 3 - Hastings Books, Laramie, Wyoming, 1-5 p.m.
• May 10 – Hastings Books, Gillette, Wyoming, 2-5 p.m.
• May 15 – Barnes and Noble Books, Billings, Montana, time TBA.
• May 17 – Barnes and Noble Books, Bozeman, Montana, time TBA.
• May 31 — Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site, Illinois, time TBA.
Well, the wind has started blowing a gale outside. March coming in like a lion, we suppose. We’d better go bring in the dogs before they blow away. In Wyoming, a stiff breeze is judged by whether or not it’s snapping off the links of log chain. Given that the buffalo have just put their heads down and braced their legs to stand against the wind, this is definitely a “stiff breeze.”
We hope you are all well and that springtime brings you green pastures, healthy gardens, and flowers galore.
Michael and Kathleen