Indian Summer: Musings on the Gift of Life
by Sam Pickering
University of Missouri Press, 2005
Paper: 978-0-8262-1596-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8262-6481-7
Library of Congress Classification AC8.P6624 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 814.54


 Returning to Nova Scotia every summer contributes to the illusion of smooth continuance, each summer not the first thread in a new fabric but another button on a cardigan, perhaps looser than buttons below but still familiar and comfortable. Every summer the songs of white-throated sparrows bounce from scrub like novelty tunes from the fifties. Early in the morning ravens grind woodenly. . . . No matter how slowly I jog, on the headland butterflies spring from my feet in clumps, first azures and orange crescents, then wood nymphs, and finally over the lowlands near the Beaver River outlet cabbage whites spiraling, dizzy with mating.

Indian Summer is the newest collection of personal essays by Sam Pickering. In typical Pickering fashion, he seeks to capture the gift of living. He brings to the page again his family, students, and a wealth of country characters who live in places that exist only in his imagination and who wander through the stories he tells.

            He describes how his life has been altered by his children leaving home for college, and he ponders the changes aging brings and the things that never change. The consummate teacher, he celebrates academic life and the pleasures of the classroom. Readers will roam familiar ground with Pickering as he explores the fields and small hills of eastern Connecticut and the bogs and woods on his farm in Nova Scotia.

            Indian Summer celebrates hearing and seeing. Butterflies tumble across the pages, flowers bloom and wilt, and dragonflies glitter like stained glass in the sunlight. Pickering teaches us to value our words and to laugh at the world around us. His musings mirror his desire for his readers to appreciate life a little more after exploring this book.


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