For visually challenged writers, theimage shows a pale pathway meandering through a field of purple heather towards the green of distant hills.
When your soul needs a recharge Take a trek through a field of wild heather Feel the soothing purple dream time wash over you. Let your mortal eyes see beyond the pale path To new horizons Hold on to everything you love Grab each chance as it comes Let tomorrows troubles Run like water beneath your feet Keep looking to the stars…
These beautiful flowers arrived on Sunday, from Anita’s granddaughter and how she managed it what with lockdown and most shops being shut is amazing. So many of our garden favourites!
I have just spent two nerve wracking days trying to take care of someone who will never accept that she needs it. Then I spent yesterday afternoon supervising a family visit where we broke a few lockdown rules, and fretted the whole time about a certain person becoming over excited.
Anita did get tired, but seeing her family more than made up for that.
Every day she seems to get a little stronger, but we are desperate for the appointment for the heart MRI to arrive, so she can finally be mended!
I thought I would have to do the lions share of our workload this week, but this morning Anita strolled into the office and looked for something to do. The results are being posted today…
So today turned out much better than I thought it would!
Nothing had changed since the last time I was here.
The same chill in the autumn air, the smell of wood smoke from the campfires.
I made my way to my favourite camp site, nestling in the shelter of the mountain. I was far enough away from the crowds who always gathered at this time of year, all yearning to see the thousands of Monarch butterflies gather before starting their migration.
I alone knew the perfect place.
I followed the stream beside the old logging trail, with birdsong for company, each twist and turn increasing my anticipation.
Finally, I stood in the secret glade and looked around, thrilled to find they were already here. Every tree was covered in a blanket of living leaves, thousands of colourful butterflies at rest, barely moving in the slight breeze.
I held my breath. Had I chosen the right moment?
As if some signal had been given, the butterflies slowly took flight, soaring up into the sky, leaving me with mixed feelings of joy and sadness in my heart…
The minute Ian walked into the waiting room; he knew he had come to the wrong place. Rows of uncomfortable looking chairs, most with old people sitting in them, all waiting patiently. Some of them looked as though they had been there a while already.
The bright light in the white painted room hurt his eyes and the constant faint humming was beginning to annoy him. He sat down on the nearest empty chair and discovered he had been right; it was uncomfortable. He had never understood why. If you must make people wait, surely a comfortable chair wasn’t too much to ask?
He looked around, wondering why he was there, and if he wanted to wait to find out. He felt so tired.
A younger man walked past him on the way to the door Ian had just come through. The man pushed the door, but it didn’t open. He was trying again, using more of an effort, when a nurse in a white uniform appeared, took his arm, and led him to a chair.
This posed a question for Ian. Why hadn’t that door opened? Something else occurred to him, something that made no sense at all. He had been in so much pain for a long time, but it had gone, and he felt fine.
More than fine in fact and a thought came to him. He didn’t need to be in this waiting room at all.
He stood up and walked to the door, wondering if the door would open for him, then, somewhere behind him, someone began to sing.
He recognised the song and turned to see who was singing. A tall, elegant, and attractive elderly woman was standing at the front of the room, singing the song everyone remembered so well from the days of the last war.
She smiled at Ian and held out her arms as she sang the last words of the song.
“I knew we would meet again, one sunny day…”
In loving memory of Dame Vera Lynn and Sir Ian Holm
From the moment I laid eyes on her She tore the soul from my body Her tiny hands curled into fists Ready to take on the world Her hands will never be grazed By days that pass She is my soul, my life She is my daughter She made me more She made me her father…
Growing up, I was told repeatedly that my father played the piano like a professional, describing the joy he felt and how he managed to transmit his joy to anyone who heard him.
I have the abiding image of him in his army uniform, huge boots beating the floor in time with the music. Unfortunately, I never met him, as he was lost in the war when I was a baby, but I wish so much that I had.
I have been told that I am just like him. He was tall and liked to build and mend things, always good with his hands with unending patience. Sounds just like me!
The one thing I didn’t get was his talent on the piano. I know it is inside me somewhere, for I can feel it and sometimes the feeling is so strong, I think I could sit down at a piano and miraculously start playing. But with the best will in the world, I can’t, and is one of the strongest regrets in my life.
Music has always been my passion and my inspiration, and some of my favourite pieces are piano concertos. I still wish I could learn how to play, even now, at 76 years old.
I did try to learn when I was younger. I learned how to read music and could play simple tunes with my right hand. But my brain drew the line at both hands on the keys, refusing to let my right hand play the different notes. I am one of those people they say couldn’t walk and chew gum, and I suppose I am. That party game where you try to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time is impossible for me. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Just try it and see how hard it is.
In my life, I have encountered many things I wanted to learn but had to walk away from, much to my disappointment. My ego has been subjected to so much frustration during my life, and even though I eventually have to give up on things, the desire remains.
I have always insisted that you should be able to learn anything, given the right instruction and determination. However, I have discovered it isn’t possible, and have had to admit defeat on so many occasions.
I am sorry that I never met my father but sadder still that I cannot play the piano as he did.
A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.
Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.
Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress but is enthralled by the splendour and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art. Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?
This isn’t the first book by Anne Montgomery I have been lucky enough to read, so I already knew I would enjoy Wild Horses on the Salt.
The Scent of Rain on Amazon about a young girl’s life in a fundamentalist community literally had me gripped by the throat, so I was expecting a gentler read this time!
Brilliant opening chapter, full of questions that I had to know the answers to… Becca has run away from a horrible situation, turning to a family friend in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. She was safe, but not happy. She didn’t belong there, had nothing to do and no plans for her future, if that was even possible. The author’s brilliant world building soon had me relaxing and enjoying the desert, the wilderness with so many horses. This was the kind of story I knew I wouldn’t want to end. I loved the delightful chapters voiced by the horses, and although I was enjoying this beautifully written story, I knew trouble was brewing, simply biding its time. When it finally arrived, I wondered if Becca would manage to find a way to be free, once and for all…
I recommend Wild Horses on the Salt to readers of great fiction!
You can find more information about Anne Montgomery and her novels at the following sites:
Becca curled into a ball beneath the soft cotton sheets and the horse-adorned bedspread. She didn’t want to move, but then her stomach growled. How long had it been since she’d eaten? She stretched, and her assorted injuries made her wince. She crawled from beneath the bedding, holding her side, surprised to see that she had fallen asleep in her clothes. Becca eyed the small garment bag that rested unopened on a chair in the corner. She needed to brush her teeth. She eased herself slowly off the bed. The bruises on her hip and shoulder were still fresh and achy. Becca didn’t glance in the mirror as she crossed the room. She’d had a black eye before. Understood the rainbow transformation that would render the area purple, green, then a sickly yellow-brown before the wound would finally disappear from her skin, but not from her soul. Becca ran her fingers through her hair, then opened the door.
“Hello, Becca.” Gabriella Strand was tall with streaks of gray in her dark hair that was cut short and looped behind her ears. She wore teardrop-shaped turquoise earrings set in silver, a black sweatshirt that boasted a herd of galloping horses, black jeans, and a pair of worn black cowboy boots. If the woman standing before her was surprised by her appearance, she didn’t show it. Becca turned her bruised eye away. “Ms. Strand.” Gabriella laughed. “Oh, honey, no one has called me Ms. Strand in a very long time. It’s Gaby. Didn’t your aunt tell you?”
“Yes. I’m sorry. She did…Gaby.”
“No need to be sorry. Now, let’s get you something to eat.”
Later, Becca stared at the empty plate before her. She’d devoured the ham, egg, and cheese scramble, four pieces of thick smoked bacon, a stack of fluffy pancakes smothered in real maple syrup, and a large pot of hot black tea. Gaby sat and wrapped her large hands around a mug of strong coffee. The older woman gazed at Becca with dark eyes, her face etched with fine lines that indicated a lifetime spent outdoors in the Arizona sun. Becca didn’t know what to say to this woman who she knew only through stories told by her Aunt Ruthie. The two women had been college roommates, both history majors at Northern Arizona University. After graduation, a continent had come between them, with Ruthie moving back to New Jersey and Gaby remaining in her home state. But the two women never lost contact, had often visited over the years. When it became clear that Becca needed to leave, her aunt had insisted she would be safe with Gaby.
“You don’t have to say anything.” Gaby smiled. “I left some towels in your room. You can shower or take a bath, if you’d like. Then, rest. We’ll talk later.” All Becca could do was nod.