Passages Two

Do you save things? I do. When I’m walking along a creek bed or a forest path I find things. Odd things. Pretty things. Curious things. Sometimes I put them in my pocket. Momentos…

When I return home I put these things on the window sill in my cabin, or my bookshelves, or anyplace I can find to tuck them in. They remind me, sometimes decades later, of trips I took, vacations Kathy and I shared, people I’ve met or moments I am glad I can still recall.

The items are certainly meaningless and practically valueless to anyone beyond me. My descendants will be left scratching their cumulative heads wondering why on earth I kept this stuff. If they only knew the sacred memories they served up.

Below is one of Forrest’s interesting saves…

Loom of the Desert

Once in a while something like this happens to me and I am drawn to it like ink is to a page. To be different is pleasing, at least to me it is. We printed the bindings of my Secrets of San Lazaro book on linen because I wanted a beautiful cover and no dust jacket. They are used to hide an ugly cover. My printer said he couldn’t print on linen, and I walked. He tried it and it worked, so he called me back. I wanted other publishers to trend back to the old times when books were beautiful to look at, and covers were multi-colored, and were sometimes three dimensional. Dust jackets were not as yet to be. Unfortunately, my trend faded not unlike an echo in a distant canyon.

If I were younger I would still be trying to change a few ideas, but in that stead I’ll introduce you to my friend Idah, who, with her writings, has left a fingerprint on my heart. Her book, The Loom of the Desert, published in 1907, enjoys the mellow class that, wistfully, all of us would have. It was printed in 1,000 copies and in each, Idah tipped in seven photos and, with a wonderful calligraphic hand, ink lettered each caption. That’s 7,000 photos and 7,000 captions.

I found this little volume for $10, languishing and overlooked on a peel-painted wooden shelf in a forgettable bookstore somewhere. It was rebound with money from my pocket that I very much enjoyed spending, because it restored some of the class that this book deserves, and likewise, Idah, who I know is smiling at my concern.

This is Idah’s forward to The Loom

There, in that land set apart for Silence, and Space, and the Great Winds, Fate – a grim, still figure – sat at her loom weaving the destinies of desert men and women. The shuttles shot to and fro without ceasing, and into the strange web were woven the threads of Light, and Joy, and Love; but more often were they those of Sorrow, or Death, or Sin. From the wide Gray Waste the Weaver had drawn the color and design; and so the fabric’s warp and woof were of the desert’s tone. Keeping this always well in mind will help you the better to understand those people of the plains, whose lives must needs be often sombrehued. (How do you like that word? Please don’t say it isn’t correct, or isn’t used correctly.)

In Idah’s book, beginning on page eighteen, is a tale about Martha Scott. Lasting only twelve pages, it relates the story of a woman who perhaps epitomizes many rural women of her day. Let me read you one chapter.

Dear Fred:-

Now I’m going away, and I am going to stay a year. The money will last us two about that long. I asked Mr. Beard to go with me, so you needn’t blame him. I ain’t got nothing against you, only you wouldn’t never take me nowheres; and I just couldn’t stand it no longer. I’ve been a good wife, and worked hard, and earned money for you, but I ain’t never had none of it myself to spend. So I’m going to have it now; for some of it is mine anyway. It has been work-work all the time, and you wouldn’t take me nowheres. So I’m a going now myself. I don’t like Mr. Beard better than I do you-that ain’t it-and if you want me to come back to you in a year I will. And I’ll be a good wife to you again, like I was before. Only you needn’t expect me to say I’ll be sorry because I done it, for I won’t be. I won’t never be sorry I done it; never, never! So, good-by.

Your loving wife,

Martha J. Scott.

That is my book review for today. I recommend the book. You can get reprints on AbeBooks for under $9, and 1st editions for a little more money. f