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book chat I by phaedra greenwood

As Far as the Eye Could Reach: Accounts of Animals Along the Santa Fe Trail, 1821-1880 By Phyllis S. Morgan • University of Oklahoma Press • 800-848-6224 ext. 1 •

Imagine gazing out over the prairie at a fluctuating “black mass” that spreads all the way to the horizon. This is what the buffalo herds looked like to trappers, traders, and other travelers along the Santa Fe Trail in the mid-1800s. Hundreds of wolves followed the herds and rattlesnakes were so plentiful a man walked in front of the wagon train with a stick. Morgan offers eyewitness accounts of abundant wildlife from pronghorns, prairie dogs, roadrunners, mustangs, and grizzlies to domesticated animals. She calls on noted scientists to explain how animals are rooted in mutual relationships with their ecosystems, how far they ranged and what became of them. Historian Marc Simmons says, “It was a kind of bloodlust that led to pointless slaying of the buffalo.” “Extirpated,” is the scientific word. Fascinating. Five brilliant stars!

Birds in Watercolor, Collage and Ink: A Field Guide to Art Techniques and Observing in the Wild By Geninne D. Zlatkis

From Place to Place: Personal Essays

Quarry Books • 978-282-3582

By Judy Ray • Whirlybird Press • •

This prosaic title does not do justice to the author's wide-world experience of separation and distance. Born and raised in green southern England in a house 300 years old, she does not claim a sense of place, but a sense of displacement. She is disturbed by the reality of disasters she does not actually remember like a stray German bomb that dropped on a boys’ school three miles away, killing the headmaster and 28 boys. As she broadens her view of life in East Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand. She juxtaposes her experience of growing up “under” war to children in the Congo growing up in refugee camps. She contemplates the forced removal of Native Americans or a whole village in Indiana uprooted for munitions testing during World War II. Her prose is meticulous, but her poetry sings on the page. She asks “Dear God of Small Things” to make a silver mirror that reflects us as the “heroic others we strive to be.” Bravo!

Mysteries of Love and Grief: Reflections on a Plainswoman's Life By Sandra Scofield • Texas Tech University Press • 800-832-4042 •

“What happens when a woman cannot let go of her grief for her dead mother?” She writes a scrapbook memoir and tosses in the most poignant scenes. Convoluted relationships bubble up through the karst of family history, “Sinkholes everywhere,” Scofield writes. It’s a long, dark journey, spiced with hot apricot pie, a forbidden hug between grandmother and granddaughter, a chain link fence between them. “Frieda is one of a legion: women who have stood at graves and at the doors of empty houses and seen a sea of empty prospects.” The love and loyalty Grandmother Frieda pours over her granddaughter keeps the reader afloat through a chronicle of poverty and death. Suddenly Scofield startles you with self-reflective revelations—she was a happy kid. You’re allowed to burst out laughing at “Good Times:” Frieda takes her to a wrestling match: Gorgeous George fights the Farmer and his Pig. And Frieda, dressed in a cape to scare the Halloween kids, falls out of a tree and breaks her ankle. 16

May 2019 •

In these lustrous pages this Santa Fe artist reveals her photography, watercolor and collage, and ink techniques so that would-be-artists can follow them step-by-step. She generously offers a selection of collage papers and two of her own prints that can be removed from the book. She is also the author of Making an Impression: Designing & Creating Artful Stamps. She lures the reader into her sunny studio to show her pencils, brushes, paints, paper and ink. Every page is aflutter with wild, graceful birds and flowers. Photography was her first love, so she employs close-ups of nature. She paints a whimsical “conspiracy of ravens” within a hare, flying over prickly pear cactus. She captures textures from walls, doors ,and other surfaces; and collects stamps, old letters, and hand-made paper for collage. Five stars. Mail your book with contact information and where to order to: enchantment Book Chat, 614 Don Gaspar Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87505.

Profile for New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative

CVEC May 2019 enchantment  

CVEC May 2019 enchantment