with Jack Pendarvis

After putting the grandchildren to bed, there is nothing I like better than sitting on my wraparound porch in the gathering dusk, gently tapping my old meerschaum against the arm of my favorite rocking chair to dislodge the cold ash embedded within.

Oft times I will spy a young deer at the edge of my property, bending to graze upon a tender huckleberry shrub. On evenings such as these, as I rest and contemplate, my thoughts invariably drift to Henry David Thoreau, and what a weirdo he was.

One night, in fact, I may have had too many heavy sweets with my dinner, or perhaps it was the Welsh rarebit, or the jeroboam of champagne I consumed, but I swore as I began to doze that a hazy figure walked toward me across the lawn, coming from the direction of my ancestral woods, and as this figure neared, I saw that it was none other than Henry David Thoreau himself.

Keats tells us that “things semi-real” require “a greeting of the spirit to make them wholly exist.” It was with this in mind that I shouted a friendly “hallo” to my spectral visitor and bade him enjoy a respite in the rocking chair next to mine.

“Don’t mind if I do,” he said. Hearing his crisp New England intonation, I no longer harbored any doubt that this was the very man.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Jack Pendarvis has written three books.

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