The Shepherd's Grand-daughter
"Over the last months and hours her heart had grown harder with
each new loss--a highway through their vineyards, a settlement on
Seedo's Peak, Ammo [Uncle] Hani imprisoned, her sheep poisoned, Baba
[Father] taken, their homes demolished, the olive grove destroyed.
Now her heart was as heavy and full as a powder keg. The sight of
Sahem [her dead sheepdog] struck a match. Anger exploded in Amani,
driving out fear."
Even as a child, Amani, protagonist of Anne Laurel Carter's The
Shepherd's Grand-daughter, longed to be a shepherd. Never mind that
in a millenium the family shepherd has always been a son. Never mind
that her mother thinks it's much too dangerous for a girl. Never mind
that the family has decided that she will go to school with her
cousins. Fortunately the most influential member of her family is her
ally. Her shepherd grandfather, Seedo, decrees that she will be his
apprentice and carry on the work when he is no longer able to.
Amani has chosen a perfect vocation for herself. She learns all
aspects of her work, even the most challenging ones. She researches
new ideas to keep her flock healthy and their grazing more
sustainable. She even contacts a vetinarian who makes a visit to
vaccinate all the animals in her immediate vicinity.
As the years elapse, however, ominous signs appear and
multiply. Israeli settlers encroach relentlessly on their land,
water, and traditional way of life. Settlers with guns. Settlers who
see Amani and her family as potential assassins. Settlers with whom
the soldiers always side.
For those of us who are half way across the world from the Bible
lands the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can seem abstract and
confusing. The Shepherd's Grand-daughter makes it up close and
On a personal note, we are in the hottest part of the year. My
favorite parts of the day are now early morning when I read the
newspaper in my studio and after supper when I take my books outside
to catch the evening breeze.
A great big shout out goes out to peacemakers.
Sent from my iPod