Whitefoot

The Amazon box came yesterday and I am jubilant!  Wendell Berry’s book for children is a winsome read. 

First the size.  It measures 6¼  x 7½, a lovely size for small hands.  The quiet black and white illustrations are elegant simplicity itself, engaging the eye, illustrating but not dominating the text. 

But the glory of this book is the prose.  A mouse called Whitefoot makes her home in an abandoned glass jar in a hollow near a river.  When the river floods she is propelled into a dangerous adventure, clinging to life while floating precariously on a log.   

Fans of Berry’s Port William fiction will recognize the themes he weaves through the pages of each story: careful work, thankful hearts, the rhythms of an ordered life. 

She made it snug.  She did her work according to an ancient, honorable principle: Enough is enough. She worked and lived without extravagance and without waste.  Her nest was a neat small cup the size of herself asleep.  When she went into it for her daytime sleep, she slept drawn into a ball, her eyes shut, her tail curved around so that its outer end lay under her nose.  Her sleep was an act of faith and a giving of thanks.

If you had seen her, you might have thought she was being patient.  She was capable of patience, I think, but now she was simply doing nothing, which was all there was to do.

As morning brightened the mist over the river, a pair of wild geese sailed down together, like two arrows shot, and sliced the surface of the water as they touched it and settled, and then they floated quietly, dignified and alert.

She was taking, hour by hour, the opportunity to live.

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6 thoughts on “Whitefoot

  1. This is a reply to a comment you left on my blog:  Of course we are kindred spirits!  I knew it the first time I laid eyes on your blog.   You love God and family (and Trollope!).  You see the holy in the ordinary and celebrate it.  You write beautifully.  What’s not to love about you? (I’m sure you could tell me, but I prefer not to know. ha!)  Your blogging friend, Hope

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