"This what I remember: Viola is holding my hand. We're at the edge of the field, far from the other people. We stand looking out into the middle of that ocean of alfalfa. I can see my mother there, a small white bundle with nothing left, and I can see that it isn't a tragedy we're watching, really. Just a finished life. The helicopter is already in the air and it stays where it is, a clear round bubble with no destination, sending out circular waves that beat down the alfalfa. People duck down, afraid, as if they're being visited by a plague or a god. Their hair is blowing. Then the helicopter tilts a little and the glass body catches the sun. For an instant it hangs above us, empty and bright, and then it rises like a soul." Animal Dreams, final page
just finished animal dreams, for the second time in 15 years. i don't remember being so emotionally affected by it the first time around. i don't remember falling so deeply in love with the words, the stories, the beautiful and haunting characters. i read that last page without breathing i think, the words blurring a little through the curtain of water in my eyes.
it's an amazing experience, when you reach the final page of a brilliant book you've learned to love, almost as a child. you've held it in your hands, turned each page carefully and with anticipation, not knowing what's ahead, but having faith that the journey alone will fulfill you, will nourish you...will change you. it's such a grand moment...this is the last page...and you can hardly wait to read what you are certain will be an ending that will satisfy. and yet...you also know there is a letting go, a sadness that these characters who have somehow, through the magic of someone's imagination and talent, become your family, and now they are leaving you, their visit far too short but so lovely just the same.
whenever i visit my parents for a few days, i always bring a book to read, and my mom will see me hauling it to the couch, and laugh a little and say "darl, you were such a bookworm when you were a girl, sometimes i wouldn't see you for hours, and i would start to wonder where is she, and i would search around the house and eventually find you curled up in some comfortable corner, lost in a book, completely and totally lost. you were the only eight year-old kid in the neighborhood who was just as happy to sit and read than to go outside and play."
some things never change i guess.