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The scene was overwhelming: Herringboned clouds bleached blueness, overhead; centuries-old oaks, freshly leafed, shaded the rolling hills, the grass resembling grown-out buzz cuts of new recruits; asphalt roads serpentined among clearly marked plots filled with the remains of women and men who had served our country in combat or peacetime. Thousands of American flags cast a pink glow upon the white oval faces of the headstones, resembling gothic doorways of ancient monks.

Cars inched around turns with tent-covered lemonade stands, with groundskeepers welcoming visitors and helping with directions. Children in T-shirts and shorts walked Indian-style behind their parents, holding pots of flowers. A heavyset lone senior leaned on her cane while scanning the row of headstones for her loved one.

It was Memorial Day, the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery outside of St. Louis, Missouri, and my first visit to this historic site.

I weep with those who weep.

The Sacred Feminine is the ancient voice who sings the song of creation…that brings the divine spark into being—a quote taken from the Oneness of Life website. This description, in my perception, imbues each word in the 1941 novella, The Snow Goose written by Paul Gallico, a classic for generations.

Readers care deeply about the characters: the snow goose, the hunchback artist Philip, and skittish Fritha. Readers care about the setting: the abandoned lighthouse—home to Philip—off the coast of Essex, England, the teeming wildfowl from other continents, the restless sea of blues, greens and grays, and winter’s sting. Readers also care about the leitmotif of brokenness, exacerbated by the onset of World War II.

Within this breathing world of extremes, sparked by glimpses of the Sacred, readers can make peace with their own life passage; others, as well. Despite irregular joinings and awkward beginnings, everything fits together, and newness emerges to continue the song of creation.

In its utter simplicity, The Snow Goose speaks to our Covid-enmeshed world, a restless sea filled with uncertainty, change, even death. Denial, rationalization, and idealization have no place here, as also in the novella—Both Philip and Fritha face daunting experiences that brilliance their true spirits.

Certainly no one expected such upheavals in the fabric of our accustomed lives, but they are here. Acceptance pries open hearts, lets go of the inevitable, and deepens trust in the Sacred Feminine…the ancient voice who sings the song of creation…that brings the divine spark into being: within you and me.

Together, we help facilitate freshness in barren places and breathe deeply, despite winter’s hoarfrost. For this, total reliance upon the Sacred Feminine is critical.

Some exquisiteness ennobles. Some exquisiteness draws blood. Such was my experience reading The Words I Never Wrote, (2020), the historical novel written by Jane Thyme.

The enigmatic title speaks to the estrangement of two sisters, inseparable and gifted artists as they grew up on their British estate at Birnham Park. Vaguely aware of Germany’s 1936 rearmament in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, one sister follows her industrialist husband to Berlin, while the other relocates to Paris to advance her career in journalism. Their exchange of letters abruptly stops the following year.

To unravel this estrangement becomes the self-appointed task of a photographer, in present time, who happens upon the unfinished manuscript of a novel wedged in the case of an antique Underwood typewriter; such comprises the first half of The Words I Never Wrote.

Upon its yellowing pages unfold juxtapositions that craze spirit: the sisters’ divergent lifestyles with consequent distancing, the underbelly of Nazi Germany’s heinousness and opulence, prickly fears of arrests and the underground, burgeoning law codes and the impossibility of observing them, Hitler and his henchmen attending the Berlin Philharmonic, slave labor cultivating choice foods for Nazi tables, the torture and random abuse of lawbreakers requiring medical care—And so much more. So violently did the sensuousness of the images suck me within the story line that I had to put the book down.

Yet, the preciseness of these images, especially, the formal gardens having gone to seed, the estates along the Wanasee River, the outdoors in all seasons, the allied bombings of Berlin and consequent mayhem, lovemaking and separations, contributed an almost lyrical dimension to this novel. As a writer, I often stopped over an exceptionally well-worded phrase and relished its afterglow. 

A workout, yes, but The Words I Never Wrote left its mark—exquisite is its end.

Available on Amazon

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