Some weeks ago I saw a nest in one of the plants in the yard. The nest was small enough to fit in one hand, and in it, two eggs slightly bigger than my thumbnail. I first noticed it when I saw the bird, more precisely the white around her eyes which made a contrast in the shadow of the plant. Days later, when I looked at the nest again, I saw two chicks, bald and skinny, moving restlessly inside.
It occurred to me at that time that I should take some pictures, but I finally got around to doing it when the third round of chicks had hatched. Well, almost. I took this picture more than a week ago, and after a few days there was one chick who opened her beak soundlessly, then let its head drop on the egg in front if it, as if falling instantly asleep. That got me thinking about Deanna, one of the characters in the book, and how she tried to take care of the little bird family who lived in the eaves of her cabin. Eddie had told her that if someone scared mama bird away at night she won’t come back to the nest because she can’t see in the dark (apparently, most birds can’t), and the hatchlings would die of exposure during the night. That made me wonder why, when I went to check up this morning, the nest was empty. Did I scare mama bird away or were my three dogs responsible with their disappearance? One mystery I’m afraid I won’t find the answer to.
Part 2, Chapters 9 – 18
Chapter 9 starts with Garnett and a little of his family history – how he worked along the years for his dream of restoring the American chestnut to its native soil, and of course, his everlasting feud with Nannie, his next door neighbor. He is stubborn and old-fashioned and she is outspoken and leads her life the way she wants to and their opinions collide every time they meet. Until one day when she helps him and he starts changing his mind.
In the meantime, Lusa is thinking of ways to keep her farm and making money without having to plant tobacco, like it was done before she came to live there. With the help of her relatives she slowly starts to build a life and a future for her farm.
Deanna continues to live in the forest with Eddie, and their relationship seems to grow each day, in the little cabin isolated like a cocoon in the forest. Apart from a boy who comes up to bring her provisions once a month, they are undisturbed and live like some sort of Adam and Eve, forgotten by the world, free to roam the forest and talk about its creatures. There’s an encounter with a snake, a glimpse of a coyote den, more facts about moths and plants. But just like Deanna wants to protect all creatures in the forest, she knows Eddie is a hunter. The tension between them builds slowly and there are hints of what might happen in the future.
Characters’ lives start to merge, when Deanna tells Eddie about Nannie and Lusa is told that Garrett can help with the business idea she wants to implement on her farm. Relationships between Lusa and her husband’s family start to coalesce into something more substantial, when one of her sisters-in-law becomes sick and Lusa offers to take care of her children.
This time I felt more involved in the life of the characters. The author introduces each event so gradually there’s never any feeling of rush while at the same time giving so much detail as to make one fully captivated by the story. I had a feeling of dread reading about Deanna – soon, there’ll be trouble in paradise, I thought, while Lusa’s story brought hope and Garnett and Nannie inserted just the right amount of humor to give the book a perfect balance.
Come by next week for the last post in this read-along…but until then, head over to Vishy’s blog to find out his thoughts on this part of the book.