Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Trees Tall as Mountains... a book review

I reviewed Rachel Devenish Ford's first published fictional work, The Eve Tree, here over two years ago.  As much as I enjoyed her novel, I have loved --really loved-- reading this compilation of blog posts, Trees Tall as Mountains, from her early years of blogging. She was one of the first bloggers I read regularly, and I've read all these posts before, but reading them in a real book is so much more poignant, somehow.

She is gifted at sifting through the mundane routine of daily life, finding the gold, and transforming it into beautifully alive stories for her readers.  We are there in the room with her as she sits on the floor playing with her children, as she blogs late at night trying not to think about the possible seriousness of a medical condition, as her children go crazy on a trip to the doctor's office, as she navigates through grocery shopping and losing car keys, as she wades through the darkness of power outages on the remote property where she lives with her family and friends.

Her adventures are everyday but also extraordinary. She discovers wild beauty in the river rushing past her home in the green wilderness of Humboldt County,  Northern California. She cleans her house and potty-trains. She counsels young people searching for home and a way out of their destructive lifestyles. She and her children survive a car accident that could have been worse than it was. She flies to Burkina Faso for ten days without knowing she is pregnant, after having lost her previous baby to an ectopic pregnancy.  She and her husband feel the pull to leave the US with their children and travel to live in India, so they put their plans into action and leave their home in the Redwoods in preparation for their move. Months after they hear of the total destruction of their old home as huge trees fall on it during a freak winter storm. 

The thread running through this truest of stories is Devenish Ford's account of the ebb and flow of her mental health.  She describes the depression that descends on her mind as sudden and paralysing: like walking into the towering Redwoods with no sunshine glimmering down through the dense branches, forgetful of the hope of light to come. Though some of her days are shadowy, many more are beautifully lit by the positive choices she makes in an attempt to overcome the darkness.

"There are ten thousand beautiful things surrounding me, visible and invisible- I shuffle along in their midst, the days trickle in and out with a cloud of joy, children are always laughing around me. The joy of service, the service of love, the fact that love can cover and comfort and remove those black marks that end up covering our bright blue skies... Birth, rebirth, the shooting star wonder of Life entering the world- we turn our heads with tears in our eyes, look back when we can to see blinding hope."

Any mother who has ever questioned the repetitive nature of days at home with young children will appreciate reading about Devenish Ford's early mothering years, but this story will appeal to anyone who is inspired by those who have transformed their everyday simplicities into a life of beauty.

Buy Trees Tall as Mountains here in the UK, here in the US.
Visit Rachel Devenish Ford's blog Journey Mama to read more.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please don't hesitate to comment if this post has provoked your thoughts! I enjoy reading what you have to say.