Sunday, November 4, 2012

Time is a River and a Place to Heal

I am not often touched by a novel the way Time is a River by Mary Alice Monroe touched me. As a female fly-fisherman I understand the bond that exists between a fly-fisherman and the river. There is nothing more relaxing, more centering, than standing knee-deep in a river surveying the runs and ripples, trying to discern where the fish might be laying in wait for an insect snack. The challenge of placing a fly in just the right spot, with the imperceptibility of cast and line on the water is one that takes years to master, but provides instant gratification when accomplished even on accident and on occasion. The thrill when you see a fish rise to take the fly at the end of your tippet followed by that electrifying jiggle of life on the other end as the fish dances to pull the fly away from you is not only exhilarating, but unmatched in my experience. To imagine that this would have a healing effect in the spirit of those who have undergone tragedy is natural.

Time is a River shares the story of a woman, Mia, stricken not only with breast cancer, but with a husband who betrays her in her hour of greatest need. After attending a Casting for Recovery retreat for breast cancer survivors, Mia returns to her Charleston home, finally hopeful that her life can improve, only to find her husband cheating on her with a well-endowed woman in Mia's own bed. Horrified by this turn of events, Mia flees back to the mountains near Asheville, NC where the retreat was held, where she had felt hope and a renewed sense of life only hours before to escape her new, cruel reality.

The beauty of this book for me lay in the descriptions of the river, of reading the currents and entomology of the river, of becoming one with the river in order to heal. Another powerful aspect of the novel came into play when Mia discovers the fishing journal of a turn of the century fly-fisherwoman who recorded her experiences in the local rivers in a time when the sport was not only dominated by men, but female participation in the sport was scorned. These records gave a sense of who this pioneering woman had been and the life that she had led, enough of a sense that Mia begins to dig into this woman's past in an effort to clear her name--a name tied to an infamous deed that had never been proven but had plunged its holder into hermit-like solitude for the final years of her life. This is a great read!

                                   Click on this link to view Casting for Recovery video.

I have since learned that Casting for Recovery is a real charity organization that organizes these retreats and offers them at no charge to women of any age and at any stage who are recovering from breast cancer. I want to applaud them and their sponsors for the work that they do. Check out this video "Voice of Courage" to get an idea of their mission and its importance. I believe you will be as touched as I was.

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