Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Black Fox Running

If you’ve been a book lover all your life like I have there are undoubtedly many books on your shelves that you have bought over the years but have never read. I discovered one such just last week. It is entitled A Black Fox Running by Brian Carter. I thought I might have purchased it in England but the publisher is American so I probably found it on sale or remaindered somewhere. I like foxes a lot and have read several books about them. This book is fiction, however, and it takes place on Dartmoor in Devonshire, England. It was about a black fox living there, his exploits and adventures, his romance and becoming a father. There are humans in the story, including a poacher and his greyhound who are intent on killing the Fox.

Brian Carter has obviously spent a lot of time on Dartmoor. He knows the animals and birds very well, and his descriptions of the seasons and topography of Dartmoor are excellent. I have spent much more time on Exmoor but I know many of the places that Carter names and describes. There’s a wonderful feeling in a reader when he can say “Oh, I know exactly where that is. I’ve been there.” The names of the villages roll off his tongue; Widecombe, Ilsington, North Bovey, Chagford, Bovey Tracey, Lustleigh, Peter Tavey. When he names the cider apples, Bloody Butchers, Slack-ma-Girdles, Grenadiers, Kingston Blacks, I can remember stopping at roadside orchards and tasting their ciders and scrumpies. I wouldn’t recommend this book for everyone, but would suggest it to those with a love of wildlife or would like a taste of village life on this small piece of southwest England.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Goodbye, Wayne Cantrell

Last Sunday was the memorial and burial of an Indian acquaintance of long standing, Wayne Cantrell. I knew Wayne from the powwow trail. He was the lead singer on a drum. While he was not from the plains, he had an affinity for the Lakota at Fort Peck, Montana. He visited there often in his youger days and learned many Lakota songs. At one powwow he sang the most beautiful Indian song I’d ever heard. I asked him what the song was about. He said it tells the story of a village crier going through the tipi village and saying, “Come, come dance, come to the dance.” Wayne was only 61, much too young to die. He had been in poor health for the last several years and had lost his sight to diabetes. After the memorial we drove to the cemetery and buried Wayne. Back at Chief Leschi School a feast was being prepared. People stayed, ate, conversed, told stories until late afternoon. It was a good send-off for this fine, gentle man. He would have enjoyed it. And perhaps he did.