5 October 2097
A week from now I leave this sanctuary–my home, my solitude, my consolation. I have almost completed packing, though I remain haunted by a sense of the unreality of what is about to happen. Even so, without warning, my heart begins thumping with the thrill of it. At other times, I am full of fears, regrets, fragmentary thoughts. I am a little at a loss for what to do with myself.
This morning I puttered about the cabin and greenhouse, touching beloved objects, standing still for long moments, pondering the turquoise cube on my desk, the budding cacti, and the riot of cosmos flowers blooming in the yard I have never mowed.
In the entrance hall, I stroked the horse’s skull, like an ancient saint absorbed in meditation on mortality. I recalled the day, years ago, when I found the skeleton in a ravine higher up on the mountain. The bones were bleached white, the metacarpal broken, the remnant onshod hoofs proving that this had been a wild mustang- a loner. I had brought the skull home to keep me company. “So long, ol’ pard”, I said to him, and went out onto the front porch.
Sitting on the steps, I gazed out over the crowns of pinon trees to the blue haze of the valley below. I grew drowsy, despite the mug of strong illegal coffee I sipped. I closed my eyes, and from accross the void of more than sixty years came the memory of a time when I was eight years old:
I read my first book by O’brien, Father Elijah, in early 1998…as I flew accross the Country on a red-eye flight. I became hooked and as you can see, I have an entire shelf in my library for Michael’s works. Interestingly enough, this book is “taller” than all the others.
This will be my “beach book” and although I will start reading it tonight, I don’t get through 586 pages quickly, plus I’m still reading two other books. Michael D. O’Brien does not write short, nor uncomplicated novels. You really need to read slowly and think about the story.
My plan is to take it on vacation and finish it by the end of that week in May.
What are you reading?