Headed North

Headed North

I’m Bear Aware!

I was staying in Seattle and while I was there I planned my birthday trip. I spent time writing and said yes to several book reviews. I clicked yes and realized the disconnect of requesting a hard copy book be mailed to me when, at the time, I had no mailing address. I failed then to see the overlapping of stories.

The print copy made a rather circuitous route before resting on my bedside table. It did however arrive at the right time, as is the lesson on repeat for my life right now.

There was a journey over the jagged edge of loss. Despite the maps I had carefully marked and folded and stored in plastic cases, it was a trip into uncharted territory.

My need to know the answer, to get through something pushed me to read the book in 2 sittings. Grief does not find its end so quickly. Not for me. Not for Polson, as she relates in her memoir; North of Hope: A Daughter’s Arctic Journey. It could be said that I devoured the book, hoping to assimilate it in some cellular way which might bypass my mind.

North of Hope

I appreciated her transparent stutterings toward grasping the experience which is so intensely personal and absolutely universal at the same time. I read sentence after sentence that struggled to explain, and felt like I was watching a replay of an accident on the news. You can’t look away. They try to frame the incident differently. Get closer. Interview someone else. All framing the same moment, each a part and each a whole. The speech is not a mumbling, or even a stuttering but a fuller examination of critical aspects of her journey.

They were memories. They were casings. They were shrouds. They were straightjackets. They were vestments. They were relics. They were the certitude of each day of my life before June 25. They had housed expectations for my life. They were embraces.

My experiences read nothing like those of Polson’s. Good writing, honest storytelling transcends the details that we use to separate ourselves. North of Hope is a story, and a tool. It is a link in a chain to help others move past the details of their grief and into the process of grieving.

My advice. Read carefully and remember the choice Polson presents…

It occurred to me then that I had a choice about what I’d been given: to grit my teeth and try to muscle through, or to try to train my wounded spirit to the possibility of wonder.

**This was another review for the lovely folks at Zondervan and Handlebar Marketing. No deposits to a Swiss bank account happened here. No cash passed under the table in an Italian restaurant. Just me, and my unending opinions, and affiliate links.**


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