Hollows, or "hollers" as it comes out of my Appalachian mouth, are all over the place where I was raised. They can be hidden and unknown to the outside world, outside of your immediate family anyway. My great-grandparents lived back in a hollow, and we would walk there, back through the woods and down over the hill from my granny's house. You could drive there, but what does an 8 year old know about directions for a car to follow. I was more concerned about the split rail fences, grapevines, and not getting caught on barbed wire.
Then there were other hollows, I couldn't tell you where if my life depended on it. There were steep hills, creeks, huge trees and the best blackberries and black raspberries in the world. All wild. The wild always taste better and nothing you can buy in a store, or even a farmer's market for that matter come close.
I've been spoiled by the wild. I've been away from it for decades, but there is a disappointment that rises in me whenever I'm given the tame version of blackberry cobbler. Who in their right mind would ever be disappointed by hot blackberry cobbler with melting vanilla ice cream? I will tell you. The one who has tasted the wild, free, picked in the blazing sun covered from head to toe to defend from bees and snakes berries, that's who. And in the dead of winter, those berries pulled from the freezer are a gift like no other.
We've lost sight of the wild, the Eden that we were created for, that was created for us. We've forgotten that it exists and we settle. Settling can look like many different things: rebellion, apathy, complacency, acceptance of a tame version all planted in neat rows where UPick 'til your heart's content, but then it never really is. Content, that is.
Amber Haines takes us with her through a journey from a backyard Eden, through the wilds of rebellion and isolation, and then...... well, I'll let you find that out for yourself. The words flow like a rushing creek over smooth stones and jagged rocks into rapids. This is poetry that sings loud like cicadas, smells heady like jasmine, and tastes sweet like the singular drops of honeysuckle. But poetry and metaphor are the lures that often make us miss the reality that the metaphor exists to glorify. If we're not careful, we'll settle for the beauty of words, over the beauty of The Word. Because where our words can never be completely satisfying or fulfilling because they are broken, we must rely on a Word that was broken for us.
The hollow is not just a place between two hills, but the place inside of us, the God-shaped void. The wild that can be found there with the Creator of this universe takes us back to freedom in Eden and makes us whole.
Amber will be speaking this year at the Allume Conference, October 15-17, in Greenville, SC. I'd love for you to join us. You can find out more and get your tickets here: http://allume.com/get-your-pass-here/
Wild in the Hollow is available now wherever you choose to buy books. I thank you in advance for choosing here if you use this affiliate link. I was provided a copy for review by Revell, but as always, all opinions are my own.