Big Cat Country
It’s been almost four weeks since we took the Naugs back to the shelter and two weeks since the last of them (Ivory) went home. We’ve heard that Isabel (now Izzy) is doing great with the young couple that adopted her. She was vomiting at first when they put her on an organic diet, but got healthy again with a menu change. We’re looking forward to hearing whether our little toad Brennen is fulfilling his lap-cat potential and how Ivory (now Zoe) is faring in her home with the young girls and dog.
Meantime, the 50K ranch is big-cat country, with uber-feline Reggie, weird aunt Mia, and the Yogermeister hanging out or napping wherever they want and whenever they want to. We hope they’re enjoying the extra degrees of freedom, since waves of little furballs are likely to wash ashore at 50K soon after we return from vacation in Colorado next month.
So with no kitten chow to feed you this week, it’s time for another LitterBox! LitterBoxes are a sporadic 50K feature that are liable to arrive whenever. They quote a few selected sentences from the ends of novels lines that made my hair stand on end when I read them. Of course that always has a lot to do with the thousands of sentences that precede them, but these favorite lines from the last page or two are the ones I remember.
Here’s a link back to LitterBox 1.
For today’s LitterBox, we’re serving up the last lines of Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River, a novel set in rural Minnesota in 1962 and narrated by Reuben Land, who is in his 20s but was an asthmatic 11-year-old boy when the story takes place. Reuben’s 9-year-old sister Swede has been assaulted by two thuggish teens, who are subsequently shot and killed by his 16-year-old brother Davy when they threaten the family again. As Davy says to his father, “how many times does a dog have to bite before you put him down?”
Davy escapes from jail during his trial and flees to the North Dakota Badlands, eluding the pursuit of federal agents in the process. Dad takes Reuben and Swede on an extended road-trip to look for Davy when their lives at home start to fall apart. Much of the action takes place in the snow and on horseback. The father tries heroically to hold the family together, as he has since his wife walked away from them years ago. Reuben tries to save his older brother from the law while fighting an illness that makes it hard for him to breathe.
In the climax both Reuben and his father are shot, which leads to a near-death dream from which Reuben emerges with his health and faith intact. The last lines echo questions he cites throughout the story about faith and witnessing his father’s paranormal ability to heal things. The meaning of the book’s title only becomes clear a few pages from the end. Start to finish, Enger’s writing is unbelievably good.
“Don’t you ever doubt it?” Davy asked.
And in fact I have. And perhaps will again. But here is what happens. I look out the window at the red farm…
(description of farm and family snipped out)
…Then I breathe deeply, and certainty enters into me like light, like a piece of science, and curious music seems to hum inside my fingers.
Is there a single person on whom I can press belief?
All I can do is say, Here’s how it went. Here’s what I saw.
I’ve been there and am going back.
Make of it what you will.
from Peace Like a River   by Leif Enger
filed by: TS