But till that day I was going to stay put. I walked along the beach every morning. When I had first returned to make my home in this place I had started my walks as something to give my existence some shape and form. Or perhaps as something to cling to. But the tentative, dutiful walks had eventually become purposeful routine, in a way also part of my work. If you could call it that. It was during my morning walks that I gathered my material. Driftwood. Stones and shells. Nuts and seeds. feathers and bones. All polished by the sea and soft in my hands, each piece in its own way. There had been no particular purpose behind the gathering at first. My eyes would absent-mindedly set on a piece of wood rolling in the foam at the edge of the withdrawing sea and I would bend down and pick it up. Keep it in my hand while I walked on. Or it could be a stone, always more colourful where it lay on the wet sand than dry in my hand. But soft, always. Soothing. Later I had begun to carry a basket, and over time the gathering had become purposeful. It had changed the nature of my walks of course. They were no longer walks, really, but expeditions. Hunts. They continued to occupy my time and my thoughts.
Excerpted from The Memory of Love by Linda Olsson. Copyright © 2013 by Linda Olsson. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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