Page 16 - A New Story by Alistair MacLeod: "As Birds Bring Forth the Sun"
ISSUE : Issue 42
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1
may tire him. And trying to read his life and ours into his eyes when they are open. He has been with us for a long time, well into our middle age. Un? like those boys in that boat of so long ago, we did not see him taken from us in our youth. And un? like their youngest brother who, in turn, became our great-great-grandfather, we did not grow into a world in which there was no father's touch. We have been lucky to have this large and gentle man so deep into our lives. No one in this hospital has mentioned the cu mor glas a' bhctis. Yet as my mother said ten years ago, before slipping into her own death as quietly as a grownup child who leaves or enters her parents' house in the early hours, "It is hard to not know what you do know." Even those who are most sceptical, like my oldest brother who has driven here from Montreal, betray themselves by their nervous actions. "I avoided the Greyhound bus stations in both Montreal and Toronto," he smiled upon his arrival, and then added, "Just in case." He did not realize how ill our father was and has smiled little since then. I watch him turning the diamond ring upon his finger, knowing that he hopes he will not hear the Gaelic phrase he knows too well. Not having the luxury, as he once said, of some who li've in Montreal and are able to pre- FBDB is a Federal Crown Corporation with a mandate to help business succeed through flexible financing. • Do you need financing? • Increase in cash flow? • Refinancing? • Expansion? • Land Purchase? • Construction of building? • Renewal of equipment? • Major repairs? • Research and development? • Acquisition? At FBDB, we know that both new and well established businesses can use financing and we're here to give It to you. Here's how. We analyse your project (viability, risks, securities, equity, etc.). 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Sitting here, taking turns holding the hands of the man who gave us life, we are afraid for him and for ourselves. We are afraid of what he may see and we are afraid to hear the phrase born of the vision. We are aware that it may become con? fused with what the doctors call "the will to live" and we are aware that some beliefs are what others would dismiss as "garbage." We are aware that there are men who believe the earth is flat and that the birds bring forth the sun. Bound here in our own peculiar mortality, we do not wish to see or see others see that which signi? fies life's demise. We do not want to hear the voice of our father, as did those other sons, call? ing down his own particular death upon him. We would shut our eyes and plug our ears, even as we know such actions to be of no avail. Open still and fearful to the grey hair rising on our necks if and when we hear the scrabbl-e of the paws and the scratching at the door. This story is taken from a new collection by Alis? tair MacLeod, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Oth? er Stories. It is offered here by arrangement with the publishers, McClelland and Stewart Limited, of Toronto. They are also the publishers of his first collection. The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976), which received wide popular and critical acclaim. Photograph of Alistair MacLeod by Charlie Murphy. Readers who do not have easy access to a bookstore should know that you can order the book from the following outlets on Cape Breton Island: Blue Her? on Gift Shop (Baddeck), Coles the Book People (Syd? ney), Island Crafts (Sydney), The Treasure Cove (Sydney), Volume One Bookstore (Port Hawkesbury). 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