Like a lot of writers I’m also a reader, and in winter I get a lot of reading done; more so, in fact, since our move north to the Great Land, where winter weather often encourages indoor activities.
This month I’ve returned to one of my favorites. Hal Borland (1900-1978) was a pretty prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, as well as a columnist for the New York Times back when that paper still had some credibility. He’s best known for When the Legends Die, a great work of fiction that was made into a so-so movie (they only adapted about one-third of the story for the screen). Don’t bother with the film, but check out the book. It’s a compelling tale of a Ute Indian boy who grew up in the remote mountains near Durango, Colorado, in “the old way,” and through a series of events, ends up as a professional rodeo rider before finally making peace with himself and returning to his roots.
But if you can find copies – anything but guaranteed, as most of Borland’s work was never adapted to ebook and has been out of print for some time – check his non-fiction as well. Borland’s work is good reading for anyone who enjoys being out of doors. My favorites:
- Beyond Your Doorstep: A Handbook to the Country (1962)
- This Hill, This Valley (1957)
- Hill Country Harvest (1967)
- The Golden Circle: A Book of Months (1977)
That last book came out when I was in high school. I still have the copy my Mom bought in a local book store when it was released, Borland having been a favorite of hers as well.
Sometimes it’s nice to lose yourself in what Mom called a “comfort book.” Whenever I get annoyed, irritated or depressed by current events, I can pick up one of these, read for a while, and come out feeling a little better.