She begins by describing the trees around her home in Minneapolis, all of which she's named. Then she travels north to a big lake.
Erdrich went by boat to islands in Lake of the Woods, that huge lake on the border between Canada and the US. There are hundreds of islands in the lake, many of them with rocky cliffs around their edges. And many of those cliffs are home to ancient paintings left by Ojibwe people. The creatures and the symbols in those paintings are still familiar to many people in the ancient Ojibwe homeland.
Copper Thunderbird, also known as Norval Morrisseau, was an Ojibwe artist whose works were based on the cliff paintings. They are marvels of color and shape, but they speak of the Ojibwe past and magic.
|Mishipzheu on a cliff face|
|The bench, a featured facility|
Throughout the journey, Erdrich's infant daughter is her companion. Her daughter is an active and living connection with the future. Caring for her makes time for reflections of the past to project into her future.
And then Erdrich returns to her home near, you should have guessed, Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. That's when she discovers that some of her precious trees, including the last elm have been blown down by a huge storm.
It's a book about nothing but life. And a journey to sacred places and times remembered and foreseen. It was a great pleasure to read it. Go for it.
- Buy the hardcover of the book from the National Geographic Society
- Buy the paperback from Erdrich's book store.
- Yolanda A. Reid's review at Y Reid Books?
- Maureen Gibbon's review in the Minneapolis StarTribune
- Rayna's review at Libereading