My fourth author guest for The First Page is Jay Amberg. His latest novel out, CYCLE, reads like a lilting song, poetic and enticing. Enjoy!
The First Page of CYCLE by Jay Amber
Come. Stand among us for a moment on this flat above the rolling river. Be wholly here. Root for a time. You are alone—good. We are a ring, never alone, each identical and each different, one life entwined at root and crown. We are the descendants of deep time, of earth, air, water, and light.
The soil beneath us is dark, rich, and deep. Drops of mist fall from our canopy three hundred feet through silver air to the brown duff, the fallen needles and decaying plants covering the ground. Light dances on the river, but here within our ring it barely dapples the duff. Bright gnats swirl through still air.
A community thrives within our ring. Our life is a gift beyond reason and measure. Beyond measure and reason, our life makes sense. But only if you stand among us will you understand us, this place, this time in which we live. Get to know us, our world, before we are gone, before it is gone.
We are a redwood ring. We have stood on this alluvial flat for 823 years—not ancient by earth’s time, but far older than almost all other living organisms. A few of our close relatives are well over 1500 years old.
To the west, the river, now brown with silt, bends toward the ocean. The river’s bank rises sharply for thirty-seven feet, protecting us, most often, from floods. The valley’s half-mile-high slopes also protect us, at least sometimes, from the most severe storms. Time shears both the banks and slopes. Our grove, interspersed with fir and pine and broadleaf trees, now covers twenty thousand acres.
The tallest of us in the ring is 319 feet, the shortest, our albino, only forty-two. Nearby redwoods rise above 350 feet, but none of us will likely reach that height.
YOU CAN FIND JAY AMBERG BELOW
HERE’S A LITTLE ABOUT JAY AMBERG, THE AUTHOR
Jay Amberg is the author of ten books. He received a BA from Georgetown University and a PhD from Northwestern University. He’s taught high school and college students since 1972. Cycle, a novel giving unique voice to the world’s environmental crisis, won a 2013 Independent Publisher Living Now Book Award.