Monday, March 2, 2015

'Shadow Season'

I've been a Paulo Coehlo fan for a long, long time.  In fact, my most favorite Coehlo book is 'The Alchemist', a tale of finding just what you want/need in your own backyard.

It is a simple tale simply told, and it has affected my life in more ways than one.

I thought that I would never find a story like that ever again, but it's wonderful how I can be proven wrong.

A good friend of mine recently sent a book to me, written by her father, and once I started reading this wonderful, mystical tale, I couldn't put it down. Lara, it's great.  Believe me.

'Shadow Season', written by Sigman Shapiro, is the tale of Coyote, Rabbit, and Tortoise, and how they affect each other, and the lessons they teach and embrace.  Coyote, however, doesn't realize (or refuses to admit) that he's growing older.  He no longer attracts females, and his hunting skills aren't what they used to be.  In other words, he's not the threat he once was.

Wise Tortoise tells his student, Rabbit, that she has a mission to undertake: Follow Coyote, observe him, and help him, for his time seems to be running short.

Coyote is baffled.  Where has his great hunting prowess gone?  Are the small creatures of the scrublands actually laughing at him?  Something seems different.  If he doesn't discover the cause soon, he will lose his status on top of the food chain.  Neither his pride nor his belly will allow that to happen.

On a mission from Tortoise, Rabbit is headed to the far away mesa where her vision quest begins.  It is a magic place; a place no rabbit has ever been, but she is truly no ordinary rabbit.  She sniffs the air one last time and hops off towards to unknown.

Together, this unlikely pair, predator and prey, will confront questions of self worth, courage, passion, mortality, and sacrifice in their quest to defeat the mysterious Shadow Creature.

The threat of aging is a constant to us all, especially those of us who are approaching our 'twilight years' (I hate that term, but there you go...), and I have to admit that this story broke my heart at one pivotal point.  But after the tears dried, I continued following Coyote on his path and grew a bit proud of him when he confronted the Shadow Creature.

And Rabbit.  Oh, what a rabbit.  Strong, brave, cunning, and wise.  A follower and student of Tortoise from a very young age, Rabbit learned to curb her impatience and just listen.  And although she was a bit apprehensive to take on the current task, she knew that someone needed her, and she was ready to be there.

You can laugh at Coyote and his posturing, and the steps he takes to attract a mate.  You can wince when things don't turn out the way they should for him. But a strange thing soon happens:  You find compassion for the old guy.  You discover that Rabbit is a brave teacher.

But the heartbreak....oh, the heartbreak.  

The story flows so well, and the characters are simply, yet eloquently, drawn.  

Each reader will take away different things from this story.  As for me, I learned that it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up and face facts, and it takes even more to realize that the end is closer than we think and not an enemy to be feared.

But with a little compassion and support, it needn't be so hard.  No matter what messages we send to others, it's the lessons we receive in return that can change our own lives.

It's the 'circle of life'.  And you aren't the only hamster on the wheel.

'Shadow Season', written by Sigman Shapiro, and illustrated by Brenda Erickson, is an independent publication.  You can find it on  Book Hog would like to thank the author for the chance to read and review his most marvelous story!

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