By The River of Piedra I Sat Down And Wept
Two childhood friends go on a journey together from Spain to the surrounding communities of the Pyrenees mountains. On their journey Pilar and her friend discuss the meaning of love, forgiveness and how to lead an adventurous life by taking risks to fulfill a dream. There is also the Pere who seems to become a mediator or advocate, a friend, between the man and woman. First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, BY THE RIVER PIEDRA I SAT DOWN AND WEPT by PAULHO COELHO. I’ve had good conversation whether confrontational or peaceable while reading through the pages. Whatever the tone of the moment ideas flowed like good wine pass the three people to me. The transition to another world of spirituality and beauty made me see that moments in my life can be full of meaning.
I began the novel thinking one way, then, all of a sudden there was a switch in my mind. At first the male companion seemed to be the one capable and willing to teach Pilar the way to a spiritual life. I thought Pilar seemed more romantic. You know woman want romance. Man wants to pontificate about his great deeds. It is only after her male companion comes back from a time of solitude in the mountains do I see he is the one who will be changed by the woman’s thoughts about forgiveness and what dream to follow in life. Oddly, when he comes from the mountaintop and meets the woman he grabs her and gives her a deep and intimate kiss. The kiss seems to say ‘I want your body.’ He is now willing to give up his life of spiritual growth in order to build a home with a white picket fence and do all that he thinks this woman, most women want for their lives. Here is the twisted dance. Pilar doesn’t want any of the above. She wants to talk about spirituality.She wants to give her life away in service to other people. This is the walk, the journey she wants to share with her companion. I suppose both are striving to sacrifice themselves for one another in different ways.
In order that Pilar’s strong spirituality is not overlooked. Paulo Coelho mentions Saint Teresa of Avila along with Bernadette of Lourdes and Of course, the Virgin Mother who understands our suffering because she experiences the death of Her Son. Broadening his points the author includes Psalm 137. I still have parts of the Psalm rushing through my head like fresh water. I will feel neglectful not to add the Psalm to the end of my book review. Most of the journey is through the French countryside. I feel the flavor of their journey will seem more lasting and real if I leave the Psalm here in the French language. Of course I can only read it in the English.
How Shall We Sing the Lord’s Song?
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows[a] there
we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!”
8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!biblegateway
wild by Cheryl Strayed
When I had no roof, I made audacity my roof- Robert Pinsky
I never heard of the Pacific Crest Trail. Now after reading wild by Cheryl Strayed I will never forget it. The Pacific Crest Trail is not a trail to take lightly. The weather conditions are harsh. Their aren’t many other hikers on this trail, and there aren’t any well developed lodges like the photos you might see in a travel magazine. I believe the sort of circumstances where a hiker finds herself has something to do with how successfully or unsuccessfully the hiker will ascend and descend the trail. It’s important to know about Cheryl Strayed’s life before she walked the PCT. “…my hike on the Pacific Crest Trail hadn’t begun when I made the snap decision to do it. It had begun before I even….” Before the hike she suffered through the illness of her mother. Then, watched her mother lose her battle to cancer. She also struggled through a bad marriage with Paul, her husband, which would lead to divorce. Last but not least she had been strung out on heroin with a man named Joe. Cheryl slept with different men looking for love as they say in all the wrong places. She also had a father to remember for all the wrong reasons. This is her baggage when she starts her trek on the Pacific Crest Trail.
She didn’t choose an easy route to hike. The Appalachian Trail is easier to hike than the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail is out West: Oregon, California, Washington State,etc. The Appalachian is a trail through Georgia and up to Maine. The author briefly compares and contrasts the two routes in her book. The Pacific Trail is cruel. It’s like a man who beats up an old lady and takes her money. I thought it was fitting when Cheryl Strayed met the two or three men who seemed to want something more than a hike. Their intentions were anything but nice. After meeting those men Cheryl Strayed felt humiliated, frightened and a bit unclean just like she felt at different times on the PCT. The trail raped her soul and heart before it ever gave anything back to her. In the end she received the gift of seeing her inner and outer self in a clearer and brighter light. I doubt if before the journey Cheryl Strayed knew exactly what her toenails looked like. She definitely didn’t know what the toes looked like after the nails dropped off. The trail filters out the pond smudge like a water filter. Cheryl Strayed is the water. After the climb she would feel clean and clear like fresh spring water discovered in the mountains. No wonder she would be named The Queen of the PCT after ending her travels. “There was the woman I was before my mom died and the one I was now, my old life sitting on the surface of me like a bruise.”
Along the way the author meets a few other people walking at their pace through the trail. Some choose to walk through heavy snow and some choose to bypass such a hardship. The memoir is all about shifting, leaving behind and picking up what is most needed. It makes sense that her backpack is named Monster. Monster, to me, symbolized the burdens she carried in her heart. Those heart burdens, as I wrote, were monstrous and painful. Monster will help her learn about loneliness and being alone. “Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, so if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to…”
It is fitting that Cheryl Strayed is the only woman the men meet on the trail at that time. Her backpack is almost too heavy for the men to pick up. I think women carry heavier and bigger emotional baggage in the than men. I think we carry love on our shoulder. I am always aware if anyone tries to give me love or take it from me. Women will fight for love to never end. They don’t give up quickly. The thought is that everything will be alright in time. Hope and love are a woman’s battle gear.
In conclusion it’s a memoir not just about traveling a physical trail, but also it’s about traveling life’s emotional trail where anything can happen to tear apart our will to exist from day to day and chance never seeing the light of another morning. Cheryl Strayed ends the memoir with gratefulness. “Thank you, I thought over and over again. Thank you. Not just for the long walk, but for everything I could feel finally gathered up…”
WHEN RAIN FALLS by TYORA MOODY
Each person in the novel, WHEN RAIN FALLS by Tyora Moody are interesting. There are also goings on that the church would not call Christian. Pamela lives a double life along with the friend of her father.This man is married. His name is Mitch Harris. Then, there is Avante who does far more than run an art gallery. Yolanda Harris is interesting too. She is Mitch’s wife. The characters are colorful and three dimensional.
I did have one problem. I didn’t feel a particular place as I read. I need visual aides like buildings, rivers, stores, etc. to make the story really pop. Something that would help me take away a name of a place and remember it and see it in my mind far after I close the novel. Otherwise, the South can so easily blend in to the North. Leaving me to get lost in the city of somewhere.
The novel made me think about the importance of forgiveness. Lingering memories about pain a person feels they should never have experienced can lead to murderous revenge. An invisible spider web can form catching more than one person in its nasty web. Once in that web it is very difficult to get free again. I have used the word forgiveness often in my past and present. It is such an easy word to say because I’ve heard or read it all my life. Tyora Moody shows through her story forgiveness is as deep and wild as an unwalked forest. I also learned that a face doesn’t tell a person’s character. It is easy to know a person for a very long time and not know what soup is brewing behind the eyes and in the mind. I suppose that is why human beings are called complex characters. Our hearts and minds are like the Mammoth cave filled with different rooms and passageways. I take this thought along with many other thoughts away from When Rain Falls, “You can’t just tuck the past away and forget it. Sometimes you have to acknowledge it, or it will eat you….”Mammoth+Cave
Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
Meredith DeLinn arrives in Nantucket not to have a great vacation but to hide herself away from the anger of many people whom her husband cheated out of millions and millions of dollars. Her shame is deep. She also has to deal with the fact that the Feds might come after her. She could very well find herself and her sons behind bars. Her husband, Freddy, is serving one hundred fifty years behind bars.
Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand is an intense drama. While reading the book, I thought about the importance of a loyal friend. Meredith can turn to no one except her friend, Connie. It is in Connie’s house that Meredith stays during this horrible time. Her only way to hide is to where a wig and sunglasses. Connie never is unavailable. She is always there to help Meredith through the tears and the cruelty perpetrated by other people. For example, someone leaves a seal on the patio with a slit throat. Thought of as a pet to those who live on Nantucket the seal’s name is Harold.
Connie’s life is not perfect. She is dealing with her personal problems. Her husband, Wolf, dies of brain cancer. Her daughter has chosen a new lifestyle. One that completely shocks Connie but one she needs to allow her daughter to live in order for her daughter, Ashlyn, to know her mother’s love is unconditional. This novel is proof that there are people in the world who know how to share their love, understanding and lack of judgement at the perfect time. At one point, Meredith thinks of suicide. Her days become unbearable. I do applaud Meredith’s character. She digs in her feet and faces each day of pain without giving up. However, I do believe without Connie she never would have made it through such horror filled days.nantucketbookworks,
MIRROR OF N’DE by L.K. MALONE
Just beginning to appreciate this one. I’ve not read much Fantasy. I am caught up in the story because of Nomish and Hadlay. They are two young people with other young people from another clan who are forced to live with the Emperor. Although he is powerful, he lacks the values of the Ramash. The Emperor, his son and the people in the palace are Oreseds.
The book makes me think about the importance of family and the place called home. So many oppressed people are taken faraway from their home and loved ones to learn a new way of life. I’m sure the feeling is most miserable.
“A sudden, aching homesickness overwhelmed her.”
Before the story ended Hadlay and those friends and enemies who choose to do it learn about The Being. He is the one able to make all their narrow paths wide and there crooked paths straight because He only knows how to give true love. His wonderful willingness to save those in trouble makes The Being look beautiful. He shines beautiful colors and his body spreads a nice warmth to those who trust Him. With Him all things are possible. He has the ability to destroy the people who would choose to drink human blood rather than think of blood as a living tool to save spiritually.
“Sirach breathed against her palm, and she felt the warmth of his breath spread through her, even in the dank cold of the dungeon….We are joined now, you and I, and nothing can ever separate us…when that day comes, beloved. I will carry you home myself and there will be great joy, a celebration unlike any ever known to all all the worlds.”