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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Water On My Mind

Instead of ice on the walking paths, there is water today. The line of trees in our backyard appears to be a reflecting pond. Lines of geese fly overhead and drop down at the surrounding lakes. Worries about rising rivers and flooding are in the news headlines. And in my mind, The Water Seeker resonates.

It is an unusual Oregon Trail story, begun in 1833 along Bittersweet Creek in Missouri. Trapper Jake Kincaid returns to his cabin and bride for a few months each year, but upon one such trip, he finds her buried beneath a tree and her mother holding the infant son (named Amos by his deceased wife) he did not know he would have. The story chronicles Amos's life from Pretty Water mission (where Jake's brother Gil is a preacher and his wife Rebecca is a teacher) to life on the prairie with the neighboring Block family (who take him in after Rebecca's death) to a life of dowsing with Jake and his Shoshone bride Blue Owl and finally to the trail leading to Oregon Territory.

Intermingled with Amos's story are the many references to water: the gift or curse of dowsing, Amos's fear of water as a child and Jake's lessons in learning how to swim, the digging of wells for many settlers, the crossing of rivers on their trek northwest, the scent of water young Gwendolyn (whom he will later marry) associates with Amos.

Kimberly Willis Holt's novel is historical fiction, but it is also magical, humorous, a bit romantic, and thoroughly captivating.

2 comments:

  1. Water is one of the most amazing features on this beautiful planet. It can delight each of our senses, it can overwhelm each of our senses. I wonder if there are any books in which water does not appear in one way or another.

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  2. My mind has been flipping through all the books I've loved, and water is present in all of them.

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