THE HERMIT’S STORY: Rick Bass

“Perhaps someone viewing the tracks could have discerned the pattern, or perhaps not, but it did not matter, for their tracks—the patterns, direction, and tracing of them—were obscured by the drifting snow, sometimes within minutes after they were laid down.”

…and that is how I try to store fiction works by gestalt real-time reviewing, so as later to transcend my abominable memory!
This particular work is a real reading discovery, a passion of a moment now and hopefully forever, an all-sensory, dream-like trip of survival of man (Gray Owl) and woman (Ann) — as told later by the latter — in blueness-infused Canadian ice fields accompanied by dogs on point for set quails, with an eventual magical aura of a dry lake where the ice has trapped warmer air pockets, and where the lake’s water has seasonally drained away….a story fired by ‘swamp gas’ among the cattails…

“…she speaks of her work as if the dogs are rough blocks of stone whose internal form exists already and is waiting only to be chiseled free and then released by her, beautiful, into the world.”

“…as if submerged in another time, or as if everyone else in the world were submerged in time—and as if she and the dogs were pioneers, or survivors of some kind: upright and exploring the present, alive in the world, free of that strange chitin.”

“—the ice was clear rather than glazed, they could see the spangling of stars, though more dimly; and strangely, rather than seeming to distance them from the stars, this phenomenon seemed to pull them closer, as if they were up in the stars, traveling the Milky Way, or as if the stars were embedded in the ice.”m

“…but there was also the hot muck of the earth’s massive respirations breathing out warmth and being trapped and protected beneath that ice, so that there were warm currents doing battle with the lone cold current.”

“…across their sleeping brains in the language we call dreams but which, for the dogs, was reality:”

“What would it have looked like, seen from above—the orange blurrings of their wandering trail beneath the ice; and what would the sheet of lake-ice itself have looked like that night—throbbing with ice-bound, subterranean blue and orange light of moon and fire?”

“If the snipe survived, they would be among the first to see it. Perhaps they believed that the pack of dogs, and Gray Owl’s and Ann’s advancing torches, had only been one of winter’s dreams.”

“…how the world must have appeared to them when they were in that trance, that blue zone, where the odors of things wrote their images across the dogs’ hot brainpans.”

***

“…she had to break the ice above her by bumping and then battering it with her head and elbows, struggling like some embryonic hatchling;”

And, after that telling ‘elbow’ moment in this story, so I will take you to another purpose in my gestalt real-time reviewing, i.e. the burrowing of synchronicities or serendipitous coincidences as borrowed from a preternatural and pareidoliac power, a power that is literature, just like those ice-miners plumbing the power of dream and of the harshness of earth itself as filtered by the nuggets of words…and today, I can report that earlier today I happened to read and review SOLID OBJECTS by Virginia Woolf (HERE), a telling comparison and contrast …

“…not a gem given to one by some favored or beloved individual but, even more valuable, some gem found while out on a walk—perhaps by happenstance, or perhaps by some unavoidable rhythm of fate—and hence containing great magic, great strength.”

***

Full context of above review: https://elizabethbowensite.wordpress.com/1372-2/

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