The Nerburn jag continues. This is a really good book and reading it in the fall is perfect timing. I’ve never been to this land that Nerburn speaks so eloquently, but his words draw the reader into its space and texture.
Being from the south where the culture is open, words and casual conversation come easy, Minnesota intrigues me, and the feeling I get is quiet, barren but not in the usual way. The inhabitants more reserved, like the land itself. It’s a harsh land, strong and dominating, yet when embraced and understood for what it is, just as giving as any other.
Nerburn takes us on a pilgrimage through its back roads and it’s forgotten people. They are not the people of Sunset Strip or New York. They are shaped by their landscape and attached to a life closer to the earth. I am envious in some ways. Envious that they are stripped down possibly by things that weigh me down. But life is life and we can only be born in one place.
Pick up a copy of “A Haunting Reverence”. Go with Kent Nerburn, on those back roads, listening to the trees and rocks, hearing what the animals have to teach us. Be the fly on the wall at a young Ojibwe boys funeral who left this earth much too soon, torn between cultures. torn between the logic of the present world and the faith of a culture that spanned thousands of years. Visit the trailer on a dirt road that its dweller seems to come and go like the wind. People that have dark, heavy stories, but are as elusive as the Northern winds. It is strong and holy. It is a haunting reverence.