Wyoming Summer by Mary O’Hara (1963)
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From the original review of Wyoming Summer by Mary O’Hara in The Fresno Bee (CA), April, 1963: From diaries based on the 10 years spent with her second husband at their Wyoming ranch — and out of which came her famous stories, My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead — Mary O’Hara now gives us in journal form an account of a typical summer.
In describing that life, Mary O’Hara reveals much of herself:
“See here, do you know what’s up there? On the top? do you know that size and emptiness and that blazing incredible beauty? Do you know that you can draw a deep breath and take it into yourself and be swept clean of small crawling miseries? But you can’t live in it all the time. It’s too big, too epic, and much too lonely.”
The restless division of the heart
Part of the time she does not live in it. There is her family and her beloved brother, Reese, to visit in the east. There are her children, a singing daughter and a West Point son, from that first marriage; her musical friends from her Hollywood scenario writing days in California.
This restless division of heart, of where she wants to be, what she wants to do, is sometimes with her on the ranch, causing a great undertow of spirit.
But, far more often, she tunes to the beautiful, warm, humorous, or harsh realities of the moment, whether they concern one of their “crops” (sheep, milk, horses, boys) or the stories she would like to write, or the music she is trying to compose.
Horses to ride, horizons to explore
Meanwhile, there are horses to ride, horizons to explore, boys to feed, and a piano to play. Old Roamer, the bull, may wander off again. Will the windmill ever decide to run? Little Rachel must be trained in dog manners And is it better to have a drunk cook or no cook at all?
To all this Mary O’Hara brings her exuberance for life, her affinity for animals, and her writing talents.
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