Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Forest Is Crying, by Charles de Lint

Triskell Press, June 2020

Chris Dennison is a social worker, a man dedicated to helping vulnerable and at-risk children, and he's hitting the terrible wall of burnout. A four-year-old boy he'd been working very hard to keep safe dies, and it's just too much for him.

He's going to resign. He's written his resignation letter, and he'll turn it in after he goes out and gets very, very drunk. But at the end of that drunken binge, he meets a young woman, a rather strange young woman, who talks to him about trees, and saving the rain forest--and when he talks about saving children being more important than trees, says, what if the trees we cut down come back as unwanted children?

And then she holds him while he vomits, and gets a cab and gets into it with him. She gets him home and into his bed, and they continue to have a strange conversation. She gives him a card with a phone number and address on it, and tells him to go to City Hall and talk to the Elders Council--Native American Elders doing their own form of social work, not the council for senior citizens. And she says something very strange--that she had wanted to see him when he was her age.

It makes no sense. It's also looking like a very sad, depressing story--except that this is Charles  Lint. His characters are always worth our time, and he always finds some hope for us in even the darkest circumstances.


I bought this short story.

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