What do you do when you decide you no longer want to be responsible for anyone but yourself? When faced with that moment, Donna Kane leaves her twenty-five-year marriage for life with a conservationist and wilderness guide who is so certain of the path he is on that she thinks she’s just along for the ride.
A few days before Kane’s new husband leaves for a three-month horse-pack expedition, a gelding is seriously injured, and she agrees to stay behind to tend the horse’s wound. In the quiet moments spent with the horse each day, she reflects on her transition into the new relationship, the wilderness of the unknown, and her struggles with personal autonomy and independence.
A deft writer, Kane takes readers on her inaugural trail ride into the stunning Muskwa-Kechika protected area, known as the “Serengeti of the North.” She rides with a pack string of horses over mountain passes, into boreal forests, along swamps and sand flats, crossing creeks and fast-flowing rivers. A novice horsewoman traversing new terrain, she is startled out of her familiar routines and must examine her assumptions of the wild, within and without, to find her place in the world.
With honesty and humility, Kane reveals the folly, surprise and knowledge—of the world and of the self—that can come from setting foot in the headstrong currents of the unknown.
Including striking photos of the Muskwa-Kechika and the pack string horses, the book touches on universal issues of ecological protection and individual identity. Summer of the Horse is sure to captivate readers interested in equine pursuits as well as those concerned with the ecological issues facing BC’s far north.
“A fine poet, with several books and awards under her belt, Kane knows how to put words to work. Some of her descriptions of scenery or wildlife could stand as small poems on their own. … A memoir? To be sure, but it’s also much more — a paean to the outdoors, a plea for the environment, a chronicle of several layers of healing. Heck, it’s even a darn good love story.”
~ Heidi Greco, subTerrain
“Summer of the Horse is full of the risks of entering new terrain. There's a healing of wounds, a beautiful honesty, and a sense of celebration and accomplishment as Donna Kane realizes she survived and "built a new and more solid foundation inside me, a foundation that gave rise to infinite possibilities, an endless rolling out of What next? And Why not?"
“Summer of the Horse is sure to captivate readers interested in equine pursuits as well as those who are concerned with the ecological issues facing BC’s far north.”
I cherish this book. It's a love story, not only between a remarkable man and an equally remarkable woman, but between this same woman and horses, this same woman and the BC wilderness. There is such fine thinking between these pages that could only have been written by a poet/philosopher, by someone who opens her mind and body to the beauties and sorrows that surround her and who finds the words to knot everything together with such finesse they'll never come apart. Summer of the Horse is a perfect gift to give someone you care for, someone who you want to help heal.
How to describe this remarkable book? Memoir, nature encounter tale, equestrian pilgrim's progress, wilderness meditation, hands-on philosophy—its separate acts of attention speak to and deepen each other. Maybe we should simply call it a love story, giving that its widest possible resonance and cutting most of the violin section. Whatever its description, Summer of the Horse is a book to cherish.
"Who can know the mind of another being? Who can even know their own?" These questions form the armature of a deeply reflective book about love and wilderness. It's a book about changing your life and about letting life change you, a lyric meditation with its feet on the ground. Kane's vision is unsentimental, startling in its honesty, and also, at every moment, intensely alive to beauty. She is that rare thing, both a philosopher and a poet.