Friday, March 1, 2013

Book Thirty-Eight - The Shell Seekers - Part Two

Rosamunde Pilcher
From The 50 Best Hotels in Cornwall

I actually finished this book some time ago but it has taken a while for me to get back to my blog. This is the story of a family, of how it came to be, how the members of that family hurt each other and loved each other. It’s a story of difficulties during WWII, of living in Cornwall, England (a place I have visited and loved!), of sacrifice and selfishness, of love and loyalty, of birth and of death. It’s a wonderful story and I highly recommend it.

There was something there, veneered by wariness.

What a great line!
One character reminded me of a few people I’ve known – if you gave him a million dollars he would complain. And he’d ask for another million within thirty days. Alas, these people will never be happy, but then happiness is not what they seek. Gotta have the stuff: the car, the house, the vacation home, all the stuff to fill both houses, etc. Now, I could be wrong, but I believe if money could buy happiness the Betty Ford clinic would be empty.

It was going to be all right. There were to be no histrionics. For this deliverance [character’s name] was deeply grateful, but she felt sad too, because it is always sad when someone you have known as a child finally grows up, and you know that they will never be truly young again.

Yes! Such mixed emotions. There is just something about being a child and believing in magic – believing anything truly is possible. What do we lose when we stop believing in the tooth fairy (for instance)? It’s that whole growing up thing – parents have children so they will leave one day –that’s the eventual goal, right? To rear children who will become happy, responsible, independent adults? The last two years I’ve watched the Decorah Eagles, a pair followed by cameras in their cottonwood tree in Decorah, Iowa.The Raptor Resource Project put up the cameras and people all over the world watched on Ustream. This year the pair decided to move -- even though the old nest had an open floor plan! According to the experts, eagles really like to build nests. Needless to say, there are no cameras in the new nest so we won’t be able to watch them this year. Seeing these eagles for the past two years was such a gift. We saw the Mama lay the eggs, watched as both Mom and Dad incubated their babies (and shimmied to close any open air holes between the nest and the eggs). And then, one by one, the babies hatched. They struggled out of their shells and entered this world. We watched Mom and Dad feed them and teach them. And we watched and watched and eventually each little eaglet flew from the nest for the very first time. And it’s the poignancy of those moments that this character felt when she knew that the child would never be truly young again.

A ring was the accepted sign of infinity, eternity. If her own life was that carefully described pencil line, she knew all at once that the two ends were drawing close together. I have come full circle, she told herself, and wondered what had happened to all the years. It was a question which, from time to time, caused her some anxiety and left her fretting with a dreadful sense of waste. But now, it seemed, the question had become irrelevant, and so the answer, whatever it was, was no longer of any importance.

This made me cry when I read it and again as I just wrote it down here. It is always poignant reading the story of someone's life - you dip into the past for a while and then head back to the present. You go back and forth and learn why the person is who they have become. And the person seems to want to tie up loose ends from the past. They know they've reached the last phase of their lives and as they look back, it's all very emotional to me. I don’t want those characters I love to die, just as I don’t want the people I love in my life to die. And yet they do. We all will. Reading a book like this brings back all of those feelings. It makes me think. And that can’t be a bad thing, can it?

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