Communion Of Dreams

From small beginnings…

Got a note from a friend, with a link to an article. The note said “Yet another shade of Communion of Dreams.” Here’s the start of the article:

As Bison Return to Prairie, Some Rejoice, Others Worry

WOLF POINT, Mont. — Sioux and Assiniboine tribe members wailed a welcome song last month as around 60 bison from Yellowstone National Park stormed onto a prairie pasture that had not felt a bison’s hoof for almost 140 years.

That historic homecoming came just 11 days after 71 pureblood bison, descended from one of Montana’s last wild herds, were released nearby onto untilled grassland owned by a charity with a vision of building a haven for prairie wildlife. Some hunters and conservationists are now calling for bison to be reintroduced to a million-acre wildlife refuge spanning this remote region.

This is from the first page of Communion of Dreams:

He could see four or five thousand buffalo, one of the small herds. They stretched out in a long line below him, wide enough to fill the shallow valley along this side of the river, coming partway up the sides of the hill, not fifty meters from where he stood. The sky was its perpetual blue-grey, as clear as it ever got at this latitude, though the sun was almost bright. Late winter snow, churned into a dull brown mass by the buffalo where they trekked along the valley floor, nonetheless glinted along the tops of the hills. Weather forecasts said more snow was coming. It was Friday, April 12.

He leaned on the railing, looking down, the windows of the research station behind him. He liked the solitude of the open sky of the National Buffalo Commons. Though he had many painful memories associated with these plains, they could fill the void inside him in a way that no place else could. He had grown up not too far away, back when people used to live out here. Now there were only the stations – small shelters where scientists could study the herds as they migrated, or where people with enough connections could escape for a few days.

The Commons had been borne of the fire-flu, with so few people left out in the great northern plains after it was finally all over that it was a relatively simple matter to just turn things back over to nature.

Every writing instructor or book out there will tell you that the opening sentences/paragraphs of a novel has a huge job: to establish the set and setting, introduce tone, and intrigue the reader enough that they want to keep reading. I think the opening page of Communion does that.

And so does the release of two small herds of bison.

Jim Downey

2 Comments so far
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That was one of the things that set the tone of the book, for me.

Comment by tanteliz

Thanks! It works pretty well, though some folks are confused by it.

Comment by James Downey

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