It was late afternoon, and the sun had already dropped behind the mountain peaks. Nellie and I headed straight into the shadow at the place where the mountain is broken in two, where foaming water rushes between jagged cliffs. She ran wild up the snow-packed trail, splaying divots of snow into the air behind her. Out of sight. Only the rushing of the river could be heard. I hiked on. A good, steady clip set my heart thumping and my breathing deep but steady. Jeweled berries dangled from bare branches, long-needled pine bent beneath their snow-coats, leathered bolders hunkered under caps of wooly moss. Wild sartorialists. I glanced often at the next bend where the trail disappeared, waiting for Nellie to come back and pop her head into sight like she does, checking to see if I'm coming already.
Hi, Belle, I say. I'm here. I'm coming.
Satisfied that, indeed, I am, off she goes, out of sight again.
Not thirty minute before, I'd been reclined on the couch with a book in hand, the sun in the late autumn sky unabashedly pouring through the windows, drawing slanted geometrics across the floor. That nearly-finished woolen throw was tossed loosely over me, toasting what needed toasting. An elementary lunch of peanut butter and jelly with a glass of cold milk wobbled slightly on my lap as I held the book in one hand and served myself with the other. A bookish lunch if ever there was. Perfectly suited, this wasn't a slow, laborious read, but an easy page-turner with a light narrative drive. Relatable, informative, and delightful*. One more page. One more. Okay, now just one more page. Gracious, I'll stop reading at the end of the chapter, I try to reason.
The pull toward the indoors and the pull toward the outdoors, both in equal measure, both with promise for rest and renewal, both drawing on the same notion toward a slow and simple life.
Isn't this what weekend days are all about?
*Update: I wrote this review when only half-way through the book. After finishing the book, I'd modify to: easy read, relatable, informative, and maybe a bit disjointed in the second half. Overall, I'm not disappointed, but for me, it didn't top books like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, All the Light We Cannot See, The Boys in the Boat, Light Between Oceans, The Invention of Wings, and the The Mitford Years. Last night, I began The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, am part way through my annual re-read of An Everlasting Meal, and am listening to A Man Called Ove.