Categories
Book Review Remembering

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

I read a lot but don’t often do book reviews. My local library tries to encourage me but I don’t. Some of the reason for that is that I got into a “doing mentality” with reading. I did the “Read 100 books in a year” and was posting them on Instagram. But it became a task. It also meant I did not want to review them as I didn’t have time as I needed to be reading the next book to get to my 100. Or with me to read more than my 100. Always have to pass the goal!!!

But now I’m just reading to enjoy. Some books too I don’t even try to finish. If they aren’t holding me then they can go. It is releasing.

This book The Sentence by Louise Erdrich though really affected me so I wrote a review for my local library which is here

But it is the last page I am holding with me where Tookie says

Together we straggled through a year that sometimes seemed like the beginning of the end. A slow tornado. I want to forget this year, but I’m also afraid I won’t remember this year. I want this now to be the now where we save our place, your place, on earth. Ghost bring elegies and epitaphs but also signs and wonders. What comes next? ….

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich page 374

To me in the reading of this book this is what I felt – that I have tried to forget 2020 and fears and anxieties. I had forgotten the #blacklivesmatters. Things move on. I have forgotten. Do I want to remember? Yes because if I forget the bad, sad and mad then I also forget the good, the miracles, the wonders. And to remember one I do have to remember the other.

And I would love all that has happened and is happening – the pandemic, the wild fires, increasing climate changes, the Ukrainian war, the impending economic crisis, the backward steps in Western governments, the continuing racism, etc – for this to be the “the now where we save our place on the earth.”

Categories
holidays Remembering

Remember All Things Can Change

Photographed by Diane Woodrow on her 61st birthday
Isle of Kerrera 2nd May 2022 taken by myself

We’ve just been away on a week’s holiday up in Scotland which is why I haven’t posted for a bit. It was lovely to hang out together, walk, talk, eat, drink and just be. One day my husband went off up a mountain and the dog and I stayed back at the cottage, did a couple of little walks and I wrote. The reason for going away this last week was that it was my birthday.

Birthdays are great times of remembering, of noticing the changes, of connecting. Last year on my birthday we were sat on a more touristy beach in mid-Wales watching jet skiers buzzing about and listening to children asking for ice creams. This year we were sat on top of a hill looking out to sea. It was peaceful but I’m sure when the castle was built there it saw its fair share of noise and mayhem. And then two years ago we were trapped in our house on lockdown enjoying the back garden and quiet of our town as next to nothing was driving about. How things have changed in these last couple of years. Now our town is back to its normal noisy self.

It got me to reflecting on seasons. So for now this castle of the Isle of Kerrera is a peaceful walkers destination, but once it was the site of a major battle towards the end of the Jacobite wars. But even before then it would have been a home not just of a nuclear family but to the entourage that goes with castles.

We also visited Hadrian’s Wall which is now a peaceful deserted haven for walkers, but I do wonder what it was like 2000 years ago when it was filled with Roman soldiers defending the borders of the empire.

Photographed by Diane Woodrow
Part of Hadrian’s Wall at Millcastle photographed by myself 7th May 2022

So from looking back on 3 years of birthdays to 600 years of Scottish history to nearly 2000 years to the Roman Empire it got me to thinking how we hold so tightly to the now as being the full reality.

And I know in mindfulness we are encouraged to be in the present and not to worry about the past or the future, but sometimes I think it helps to know that this present we stand in is not how it always has been or how it will always be.

There was much talk about yesterday – 9th May – Europe Day – which marked not only the end of the Second World War but also Schumman’s speech which led to the founding of the European Union. The world has not stood still over the last 75+ years. And as we see war in Europe again with the Russian invasion I think it would help to see that, awful though this is, it is just a phase that history is going through and hold it lightly. Who knows what things will look like in a year, in two, in ten, in twenty, in a hundred?

I’m sure those standing guard on Hadrian’s Wall or in the castle on the Isle of Kerrera when it was being besieged would ever have imagined their land being a place of tranquility but it is. I’m sure at the time they prayed for peace and now it has come.

So let us pray for peace in our world and know that one day it will come.