Excerpt from The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

by Christopher Scotton

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton X
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2015, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2016, 496 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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Audy Rae Henderson was five feet four and fireplug solid, her face furrowed with wise creases and unmissing eyes that burned brightly from her dark features. She reached up and placed a hand on each of Mom's shoulders and held her at arm's length as if to verify authenticity.

My father came around to the passenger side and stood until Pops acknowledged him. "Edward, how are you?" Pops asked. They shook stiff hands.

The inside of Pops' Chisold Street home was sparkling clean— Audy Rae saw to that—but to me it smelled old and empty. In the living room, two matching wing chairs with eagle-claw feet and brass buttons tacked down the front faced a worn light-blue sofa with doilied arms. Three of my mother's paintings hung over it: a man canoeing on a river; wild horses splitting a canyon; the Chisold Street house sometime in the sixties. The room was alien and unused, but anything was better than the throttling silence of our house in Redhill.

Audy Rae led me up to the spare bedroom. "Bet you're glad to be done with freshman year," she said, helping the bag onto the bed. I grunted and slumped next to the suitcase.

"High school, my laws. I remember when you was no biggern my knee and now you're taller than your Pops."

I was silent, examining the way my interlocking fingers roofed my thumbs.

She came over and sat next to me. "Kevin, you and your mom been through a bad thing—bout as bad as life gets. I know it's gonna take a while for her and you to heal."

"He blames me, you know. Says it was all my fault."?She let out a long, slow breath.?A tear dropped down and splashed my hand.?"What happened wasn't your fault, child," she said softly. "But if I'd..." The sadness and choking anger of the last two months began to close out the thin light in the room.?She put her hand on my leg. I could feel her eyes peering into me. "It all may seem black and desperate now, but you gotta just

trust that the Lord's gonna take care of you and your mom."?I pulled at a stray thread from the white cotton bedspread as more tears came. "If he was taking care of us, none of this would have happened in the first place."

She pushed out another long breath, then let it fall away. "Kevin, I can't say why the Lord took Josh and why he took him the way he did. I don't think we'll ever puzzle out the answer. But I'll just keep praying that one day you'll find a peace with it." She stood and moved to the door. "I'll leave you to be putting your own things away."

I finally looked up. She smiled. "It's real good to have you here, child." Her face was filled with fifty-three years of stocked kind- nesses. I smiled sadly back.

She held out her hands. "Come to me, honey." I pushed off the bed and took three quick steps into the cradle of her arms. She wrapped them around me tightly and squeezed, as if to try to turn me into a diamond.

~

Monongahela Mining Company opened its first mine in 1912 on the gentle shoulders and under the stretching peaks that sur- round Medgar, Kentucky. Mr. William Beecher Boyd himself drove down in his brand-new automobile to supervise the acqui- sition of the land after a survey team from Wheeling pulled core samples so thick and pure they made his heart race.

The citizens were roundly suspicious of William Beecher Boyd, seeing as he was from Pennsylvania, and his car caused a consider- able disturbance. Story goes, he entered Missiwatchiwie County through Knuckle, and by the time he passed Jukes Hollow, he and his top-down Model T, with its shiny black paint and head- lights that looked to folks like the bug eyes of a birth-defected bovine, were trailed by a raggle of shoeless children, eight of the county's laziest farmers, three Negroes, assorted dogs, and seven cattle. Dogs running ahead, barking, and boys fighting for posi- tion as each passing farm added to the entourage.

Excerpt from The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton. Copyright (c) 2015 by Christopher Scotton. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.

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