Sometimes a guy needs a reminder that his life is attached to the land and to a history of people called family. Kooser’s writing provides that reminder that helps grow roots – like the roots of the irises that were passed down generation to generation in his own family. The irises keep coming back year after year, Kooser says, as if they sense that nothing’s changed.
The stories Kooser tells make me pause and remember some of my own. I feebly scratch them in a journal, doing my best to imitate Kooser’s art, but falling (as of now) quite short. After a few paragraphs of either Kooser’s writing or my own, I pause to dwell in a moment of flooding memory detail. Watching the memory swell and fade in three minutes’ time.
After finishing Lights on a Ground of Darkness, I’m resting and recollecting the substance of a life that is rooted in place, family, and tradition. Resonating with that substance and seeing it well within me, I gather my dreams and prayers and say to myself, “I’ve had enough vagabondry.”