A RETURNING WIND is the story of rebirth of a man who has lost his connection with nature.
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Books and Sculpture of Gordon Rogowitz
When Lyle Dawson reaches his breaking point working for a Boston firm that manufactures genetically modified organisms, he suffers a nervous breakdown and eventually returns to his home in rural Arizona. As Lyle explores Arizona's untouched landscapes on his motorcycle, encountering Native Americans who see things differently, he reflects on his tattered career, his environmental conscience, and his family history. He even tries to "tune in" to nature, hoping to rekindle the lost ways of the ancient Anasazi Indians as a means of redeeming himself. Is he delusional? Isabella, his long-term girlfriend, thinks so. Fortunately, however, Lyle will meet a grizzly-bearded pilot named Bill (a former Buddhist monk) and he will gain the support of his brother Nathan, a handicapped veteran of the Iraq War who owns the local bookstore (The Bookworm's Happy Nook). Ultimately, A RETURNING WIND is a tale of hope and rekindled trust.
CHAPTER 6: The Ranch House
Isabella had been exhausted after the long drive. Nonetheless she’d insisted on seeing Lyle’s family’s house right away. It was hardly what she expected. The three-rail fence surrounding the property was barely standing. Many of the wooden fence posts had rotted and were lying like dead soldiers in the sand. Trash was scattered everywhere in the yard: rusty cans, beer bottles whose labels had worn off, wayward pieces of corrugated metal and scattered scraps of paper and plastic blown by the wind. There was no lawn to speak of, but only a sandy patch of ground with a few cacti, shrubs, and wind-torn trees. The house itself was what realtors would call a tear-down, a one-story place that had no right to be standing. It appeared to be leaning at an angle, its wooden siding warped from years of exposure to the sun. Although the house had been painted light brown, colors of paint used in previous years showed through: pale blue and tawny yellow. Several of the windows were cracked or broken. Shards of glass lay in the weeds glaring in the bright Arizona sunlight.
“This is the house?” Isabella cried when she saw the place. She involuntarily stomped her foot. “This ramshackle thing?”
Isabella had tried to educate herself about Arizona before leaving Boston. She’d even taken time to read articles published in Desert Living and other magazines of the southwest. One of these articles had described the renovation of a quaint country home and had included glossy photos of butcher-block furnishings in the kitchen, white bookshelves and a mauve sofa in the living room, and lace curtains hanging on the windows. This was the image she’d had in mind during the long cross-country trip. Perhaps Lyle’s house wouldn’t be quite so nice, she’d considered, but with a little work they’d be able to make a cozy place for themselves. But when Lyle turned the key and pushed open the front door, the sight was more than she could bear. The first thing she saw was a pile of filthy rags on the floor. Lyle used one of them to wipe off the spider webs hanging from the door frame.
“What kind are they?” she asked.
“Black widows,” he replied.
“Aren’t they deadly, Lyle?”
“Sometimes they can be…for children.”
She peered into the front hall. The house looked like it had been abandoned for years. Paint was pealing off the walls. Cigarette butts and beer cans were in piles on the floor. A line of empty whiskey bottles stood in the corner. The two of them walked from one room to the next. A group of photographs hung on the living room wall: a sepia wedding photograph of Lyle’s parents looking solemnly at each other. A photo of Lyle standing next to his brother, both of them looking uncomfortable in white shirts buttoned to the collar. A photo of Lyle’s father standing beside a group of saddled horses. Other than that, the house was empty except for a few tables and chairs. A thick layer of dust covered the floors and windowsills.