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she died while he was in prison and he couldn't escape feeling responsible. he, her beloved son, had become a dope fiend, after all, so her shame must have been lethal. lethal too is self-loathing; it's the very engine of addiction. she had been buried deep in the woods way up north and, by the time he mustered the guts to visit, heroin had its hooks in deep as well. native peoples believe that, when we die with unresolved issues, nature steps in to lend a hand. western culture labels such things superstitious or supernatural and tries to ignore them. however you choose to explain what happened when he finally visited that grave, it was magical – magic as real as the rocks in the creek bottom and its effect on him was nothing short of miraculous. he was changed forever by the experience.

this extraordinary true story is a journey of redemption through the "minefield" of memories that torment the conscience of one heroin addict. the entire narrative is written with the reader effectively on the author's shoulder as he sits, remembering and writing, on the porch of a log cabin, the recent site of the extra-natural manifestation that inspires this monumental undertaking of introspection and uncompromising self-appraisal. on the way, we become intimately acquainted w/ a number of characters from the lovable to the malevolent; notably the sinister "mr. jones, the boogie man of heroin addiction" allows us to experience the many, sundry agonies and attractions of opiates in a unique and creative way. nature, the wild world, with it's inevitable surrounding presence and reassuring constancy becomes a character in itself by which all elements of the story are reflected, measured and, in the end, resolved. As the reader follows the author on his "memory lane" journey, he is taken far afield across the length and breadth of the state of washington; it's geography, zoology, history and even it's anthropology is visited and innovatively described via mr. smith's singularly eclectic prose style. from a dicey trip to the state penitentiary as a convict to the native people's celebratory farewell to an eleven thousand year old salmon fishing site on the colombia river, days before it was flooded into oblivion by a giant dam, along with abundant points of interest in between, the author keeps our eye on the ball and eventually rewards us with a terrific story from beginning to a most rewarding endoument.

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