Book Review: Eyes Like Leaves

by Kat on May 23, 2012

Charles deLint, Maryann Harris, and me

Maryann Harris, Charles deLint, and me

I’m a huge Charles deLint fangirl, I freely admit it. I’ve gotten to meet him a couple times at FaerieCon and such, and he’s incredibly nice, in addition to being a prolific and fabulous author and musician. So when I saw him sitting at his booth at FaerieCon West earlier this year, of course I had to buy a book so I could get him to sign it.

I opted for Eyes Like Leaves, because it sounded interesting and it’s been on my to-read list for a while. And it has gorgeous cover art. As you may know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’m a sucker for gorgeous cover art.

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DonkeysI live, as most of you know by now, in what some would consider the boonies. There are places far more rural than our little town, of course – we’re only about 10 minutes from a decent grocery store, a couple of gas stations, a post office, schools, and even a nice new fitness center. Decent-sized cities are about 15 minutes away, and the metropolis of Washington D.C. is less than two hours away.

Still, by many standards, we live in the middle of nowhere. You have to drive down almost a quarter mile of gravel lane to get to our house. We have three acres of land and a lovely view. Cows occasionally graze on the other side of the fence down the hill. Sometimes getting to town takes longer because you get stuck behind a tractor or other farm implement.

Path in the woodsThere were many reasons we chose to move where we did – cheaper home prices, good schools, the idea that our children could grow up playing outside rather than stuck behind fences and locked into sterile plastic playgrounds. And there are many more reasons we discovered after we moved here. People are friendlier. They wave, even to strangers, and offer assistance when needed, without being asked or expecting recompense. Raising chickens, goats, or horses isn’t unusual, nor is growing your own vegetable garden or hanging your laundry to dry on a line outside.

Wanting to breathe clean air, be outdoors, and live a life with at least a modicum of self-sufficiency isn’t unusual out here. Knowing your neighbors’ names – and the names of their children and dogs – is expected. Sure, we’ve got our share of loonies, jerks, and McMansion-dwellers, but they’re balanced by the real people who share our town.

As I write this, I’m on a plane, cruising at 35,000 feet somewhere probably over Maryland, on a flight from JFK airport in New York City to visit my mother in Seattle. As we climbed over the streets and houses of Queens, and the view slowly expanded to include the panorama of New York City, I was struck by the sheer enormity of it. An endless grid of streets, houses, and buildings, stretching literally as far as the eye could see, broken only by the occasional glimmer of water. Houses packed in on every available scrap of land, practically right on top of each other, in anonymous neighborhoods that, at least from this height, all look the same.

I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by New York City, but I’ve not really spent any time there. A few brief visits, passing through on my way to other places, but never a real in-depth stay. I’d love to go at some point and spend some real time exploring the boroughs – see the Statue of Liberty as more than a speck in the harbor, and Manhattan as more than a lego-sized diorama. But I am absolutely positive that I couldn’t live there. It’s just mind-boggling to me, the idea of being so far from nature, of having to travel hours and hours just to find some fresh air and trees that aren’t fenced into a park, of having so many people all around you, all the time. I can’t imagine living in that grid of streets, numbers and letters and blocks of houses and apartment buildings.

I’d be the last person to knock on someone else’s choice of living arrangements, of course. Some people love the hustle and bustle of the city, the liveliness of it and the fact that you can hear a dozen languages spoken in as many steps down the sidewalk, sample a variety of foods and cultures we hardly ever see in our tiny town, and find it all at all hours of the day or night. I can certainly see the appeal.

But it’s not for me. Give me my sunset views, my fresh air and laundry on the line, the sound of the neighbor’s chickens complaining up the hill. Give me woods to walk in with the dog, and a yard for my child to play in. If we want to see the world, we can see the world – I want my children to grow up curious and tolerant of cultural differences, ready to experience all that the world has to offer. But then I want them to be able to come back, watch the sun set over the western hills, and take a deep breath of home.

Sunset 7-31-11


New Year delays and a book review twofer

January 30, 2012

So… I fail at personal blogging, apparently. I can’t believe it’s already the end of January, and I haven’t added anything to this blog since October. >.< But in my defense, I do have a pretty decent excuse for being distracted: we found out in early November that I’m pregnant! We’re due at the end […]

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365 Photos: #280-283

October 10, 2011

A preview of Alan & Amanda’s wedding party! 280/365: Sunlight Girl 281/365: Technophiles 282/365: Floofy! 283/365: Fallen Faerie

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365 Photos: #278-279

October 6, 2011

278/365: Sunset Cows  I love where we live. 279/365: Heading Home

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365 Photos: #277

October 4, 2011

277/365: Flying Puppy in Sunlight I found this on my iPhone, while I was cleaning out and organizing my photo files.

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365 Photos: #274-276

October 3, 2011

Caught the sunset at the Boonsboro Cemetery the other day. Just lovely! 274/365: Boonsboro Cemetery Sunset 1 275/365: Boonsboro Cemetery Sunset 2 276/365: Boonsboro Cemetery Sunset 3

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365 Photos: #273

September 30, 2011

273/365: Cruisin’  Yeah, I know it’s not great to let her do this, but she does enjoy it so very much… It’s the ear, floppin’ in the wind, that I really love in this pic! Also, can’t wait to get an iPhone 5, the 3GS just does NOT have a great camera.

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365 Photos: #266-272

September 29, 2011

Wow, I’ve been really bad about keeping up with this. I blame getting used to the new working-from-home schedule, which is, at the moment, rather completely lacking in actual “schedule.” Mea culpa, I’ll be better I swear! In the mean time, here’s a big recap photodump. 266/365: Pergola Lines, Maryland RenFaire 267/365: Newlyweds  They always […]

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365 Photos: #263-265

September 22, 2011

I just realized I haven’t actually posted any photos from Alan & Amanda’s wedding on here yet, so here are a few of my favorites. 263/365: Walking Towards Heaven 264/365: Courthouse Joy 265/365: Going in the Right Direction

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