Giving a big shout-out here to James C. Moore (New York Times best-selling author, MSNBC political analyst, Emmy winning TV news correspondent, strategic communications consultant, and technology start-up entrepeneur) for his fantastic 5-star review of BUFFALO LIGHTS: Revised Edition ($2.99) at Amazon!
You can read all about the book on FarrFeed, of course, but if you’re not familiar with the work—the story of how we came here from Maryland—you couldn’t do better than to read the following, reprinted here with the author’s permission:
Change is hard, even when you are young. When our daughter was leaving Texas to attend college in Michigan, I remember her taking stock of the rooms where she grew up. She turned off her computer, hugged her old dog Bingo, and then put her head against her dad’s shoulder and cried.
But she was strong. She was convinced that going away to university would be a grand adventure and self-reliance needed to be quickly learned. I was less fortified and was not able to keep down any food other than watermelon and crackers for a week.
As we lose the color in our hair, changing our locales and habits becomes an even greater challenge. But there is sometimes an unanswered urge of our youth and there are those of us who respond. There is also the character that has never stopped moving and only lands temporarily in the world of the homeowner and car payment maker and insurance buyer and jobholder.
John Hamilton Farr, who had reached the age of contemplating paid off mortgages and social security checks, decided he needed change. Farr and his bride, an accomplished college professor, had been living in Maryland and he had been dreaming of the western light and air on the other side of the Rockies. Trees and waterscapes are grand but anyone who has ever sat a New Mexico or Colorado or Utah or Arizona sunset will have it lodged into their soul and over time its image becomes a blessing and a nagging curse.
Farr went through the agonies and joyful anticipations of a young person setting off to find their future and he wrote lovely essays about his experience in “Buffalo Lights.” We accumulate more than junk in our attic as the years pile up. Emotions entangle us with a place and that extrication is much harder to accomplish than simply loading the boxes and taking them to trailer. Farr gets this with a rare sensitivity and writes about it with clear, Spartan prose. Selling a house, renting a trailer, saying good-bye to a garden, rolling westward into the unknown, and then trying to find friends and a house to live in after he and his wife arrived in Taos.
Buffalo Lights is about a man keeping promises to himself and a woman who loves him and shares his adventures. I feel the cold of their adobe in the winter and smell the pinon pine burning in the fireplace and I have that same happiness reading Buffalo Lights that I had as a boy the first time I began to explore the world beyond our backyard on Woodsdale Drive up in Michigan. Farr’s sense of wonder might have diminished by now but his sentences are elegant paeans to the American west and the eccentricities of those of us who love it with abandon and without complete understanding.
The mundane is also glorious in the hands of a talented writer like John Farr. He can run into a stranger on a street corner and the event is rendered with a kind of profound mysticism or he can see a coyote out the window of the adobe and find levels of meaning that used to only be accessible to Taos hippies gobbling mushrooms. Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world, sees it differently than you and I, and writes about it with language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.
James C. Moore, New York Times best-selling author of “Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential.”