Read: The Meadow

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I didn’t believe this book existed. A friend in Laramie said “You know, someone wrote a book about the original ranch property your family had?” So to learn this book existed was a shock to say the least. Not to mention the author lives part-time in Tie Siding. Another shock. When we lived there Tie Siding was a town of six people. Not sure what it is now, but will find out in the near future.

James Galvin is a well known poet and author and his book “The Meadow” hit me in a way that no other ever has. I’m not even sure where to begin the explanation. My father moved us, part-time, to Wyoming in the late 1970’s. We arrived like strangers to a land that consumed us. We lived at 8000 feet in a log house at the base of Boulder Ridge.

The day we arrived we drove a 4×4 trail south along the ride and within a quarter mile of the house stood the ruins of an old cabin, tack room and still. No roof, no windows, weather worn with a dead cow in the living room. I was in love. That cabin we referred to as the “Wooster” cabin. Or so I thought that was the spelling. This name was the extent of my knowledge of this past family and their relationship to the land.

Galvin provides the background of the actual “Worster” family, but more importantly he describes the changing of the land and the changing of the people. I’m not sure how much of this book is fact and how much is fiction but many of these same stories were told while I lived on property.

I called my mother and asked if she knew about this book, and in a few weeks I’ll see my dad’s old ranch partner and I’m curious if he knows. Galvin is a great writer. I’ve not yet delved into his poetry but his prose is a unique blend of cadence, nuanced description and hyper accurate detail into both the land and the humans who dwell on it.

I’m still a bit in shock, but since reading this book I’ve sent passage to a few friends whom I respect and all have said “Oh man, that book really had an impact on me.” Get it, read it.

Comments 4

  1. Whoa, that doesn’t happen everyday. How wonderful! Couldn’t find his novels in the library, so went looking for poetry instead. Each reads like a song.

    “…there was only one angel, but she was a torch in the wind, beside /
    the wind-ripped American flag the post office flies…”
    from “Fire Season,” James Galvin

    Irresistible. What a gift to your project!

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      I was so surprised. Just to read about something as specific to Colorado/Wyoming border, then the exact mountain range and then the exact meadow and then the exact old shack. Crazy. Loved Fencing the Sky too.

  2. Read this twice years ago and still have the hardback on my shelf. Since it covers so long a time and a lot of characters, I had to reread several chapters before I knew who everyone was, and when. It’s been a long time, but I remember reading passages to my wife and muttering “Dam this guy can write” a lot. So odd you lived there! I been meaning to reread it again someday, this may be the spark it takes to dust it off. It’s a great piece of writing.

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      Agreed. A strange blend of text like poetry and short chapters jumping from decade to decade, land to people. I’ll keep it in my truck….

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