A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
A woman lives in a blue steel-roofed house she builds in an area of western U.S. wilderness that is at least thirty minutes from any burg that might be called civilized. With a PhD in biology, the woman lives in her crude dwelling year round and teaches at nearby schools. And she lives alone. Only she isn’t really. She names two cedar trees on her property Gin and Tonic. She names magpies, one of whom, in a strange scenario, will give up her life on behalf . . . well, that’s a spoiler . . . you will want to discover that tale on your own.
This woman, the author, is befriended by a fox, a red fox, a species whose adult male weighs no more than six pounds, and must survive, as parable and history tell us, by their wits and cunning. She often reads to Fox (no article, a no-name unlike her other friends) on his mostly daily trips to her property about four in the afternoon. First, she reads to him from St. Ex’s (Antoine Saint-Exupéry’s) The Little Prince. And later, Moby Dick. He seems to be lulled or convinced that she is one of him by the way she does not talk down to him or speak baby talk. He even receives his own sections of the book in which author Raven encourages him to give voice to his point of view (he calls her Hurricane Hands for occasionally extravagant nonverbal communication).
Spoiler: Hurricane Hands loses Fox twice, once in the middle of the book when she sees a mangy dead fox, and once at the end (you know it will happen). Here is the magical portrayal of her mistaken conclusion, when, at one twilight, Fox parades his four kits, the ultimate act of trust, in front of the author:
“In the middle of all that confusion of kits, one furry orange animal was dancing on a boulder. I don’t ever need to be happier than I was at that moment when I realized Fox was alive. On the hillside where he was dancing, rivulets rained down from a carnelian cliff and flowed through round-stemmed sedges, not so different from a stretch of the Wonderland Trail that I used to cross on my way to Indian Bar. Those subalpine meadows spread out in my minds’ [mind’s?] eye, and I remembered bending down to pull salamanders out of ice-cold brooks. When it was too dark to see Fox, even through binoculars, I sat back in my chair, and imagined him dancing all the way back to his den. I had just learned for certain that one fox was not the same as the rest” (161)
NEXT FRIDAY: My Book World | TBD