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Ramble with Storm: Kjelgaard, Faulkner, Hemingway, Donne, from a stormy toll

Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

I wasn’t sure if the storms to the south and southwest would get here or not, so the meathead and I set out before 6 a.m. in near total darkness, other than flashes of regular lightening to the south. On occasion, distant thunder rumbled.

About the time the meathead and I reached the town pond, the bell began tolling at the Catholic church. Straight up 6 a.m.

And naturally I went to, John Donne’s famous sentence:

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.

And the middle line became the title for Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

Which naturally led me to the Nick Adams character in “The Nick Adams Stories,” which I think might be the truest work of Hemingway’s. I think that book should be required reading for any boy or young guy with an interest in the outdoors.

Then, later in life, add “The Old Man and the Sea.”

Regular readers know a good bit of Hemingway’s appeal escapes me. I lean much more in the direction of William Faulkner.

Any young man with an interest in the outdoors and life in general should be required to read Faulkner’s novella, “The Bear,” when they are somewhere from 18-25 years old.

Oh, hell, I might as well, spell it out. Here’s the base reading list I think boys or young men with an interest in the outdoors should begin with, then branch out from there. (I would have to think much to come up with a similar list for girls or young women.)

1. Adolescent/early teen years: Many books by Jim Kjelgaard, but especially “Big Red”

2. Late teens: Hemingway’s “The Nick Adams Stories”

3. College/early 20s: Faulkner’s “The Bear”

4. Adult life: Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”

All that from the tolling of a bell. Sometimes I understand why I wait to do the ramble when the sun is also rising.

Didn’t expect much by the way of wildlife in the total darkness by the town pond. And there wasn’t. Not even a muskrat splashed off.

Only had the great blue heron fly noisily off, well it sounded noisy in the dark, by the bridge over the neckdown between the two old clay pits.

Back in town, light spilled from the storefront gym, where women were exercising early.

The storms stayed south and drifted east. Darkness hung on under the heavy overcast.