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Monday, September 17, 2007

Cold Mountain

Saturday’s volunteer day
So to Crisis Center Thrift Shop I came
To tidy up as well as shop.

School bus drivers, assistant teachers,
Parents and students asked,
“Do you work here, Miss J?”
“Oh, no. Just a volunteer.
Would you like to join me here?”
Not a good invitation, I thought
When what everyone wanted
Was the sigh the weekend brought.

Then I came across Frazier’s Cold Mountain
And thought “Yeah, just right for this Labor Day.”
It was a donated item. New and never read.
Pages never even flipped.
I got it because of Nicole Kidman
And Renee Zellweger on the cover,
The mystery of its title,
And its National Book Award in 1997.

Frazier’s a Carolinian genius, I’d say
For he got me hooked for three days.
In all emotions I indulged
Heart, mind and soul soaked.
But what I’m thankful for is my discovery
Of a perfect description of me
In the character of Ruby:

…Ada had soon noted that Ruby’s lore included many impracticalities… The names of useless beings—both animals and vegetable—and the custom of their lives apparently occupied much of Ruby’s thinking, for she was constantly pointing out the little creatures that occupy the nooks of the world. Her mind marked every mantis in a stand of ragweed, the corn borers in the little tents they folded out of mildewed leaves, striped and spotted salamanders with their friendly smiling faces under rocks in the creek. Ruby noted little hairy liverish poisonous-looking plants and fungi growing on the damp bark of dying trees, all the larvae and bugs and worms that live alone inside a case of sticks or grit or leaves. Each life with a story behind it. Every little gesture nature made to suggest a mind marking its life as its own caught Ruby’s interest. (p. 137)

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