A Song of Renewal

In North of Hope, Shannon Polson shares her recovery from the devastating killing of her dad and step-mother by a bear in the Alaskan wilderness. She wanted closure from her grief, but failed to find it in moving forward in her daily life. Instead, she searched for it and found the beginning of healing in participating in a chorale production of Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor. Without quit understanding how, participating in the production led her to take the same summer trip down the same Artic river that was the scene of her family’s final trip.

The memoir contains moments of insight and beauty. I especially liked her discovery about the wilderness: “The companionship of the wilderness girds the soul, but human companionship in the wilderness warms the heart.”

Ms. Polson came to the same point that we all must when we began to heal. She said, “No, what mattered was that they had lived. What mattered was that I still lived, even for a moment. What mattered was what I made of the moment.”

In spite of the beautiful descriptive passages and the transparency of Ms. Polson’s journey from grief to healing, the book did not capture my heart. It should have. All the pieces were there, yet that indefinable element that would have connected me emotionally with the story never appeared. Perhaps, when you read it, you can tell me what I missed.