I finished A Circle of Quiet today. I cried. As I have said before, when I read a book it’s as if I’m having a conversation with the author. This book was even more like that because of the rambling style in which it was written, as if Madeleine and I were walking in the woods together, splashing in the stream, or sitting on her star gazing rock, talking about all manner of things: the mysteries of the universe, God, the meaning of life, babies, music, art, writing, good friends, and love. I see into her soul and I love her. And oh, how I wish I could have a real conversation with her. It seems that many of the people I love and admire the most are dead. Madeleine reminds me of my dear aunt, who is bright and witty, full of interesting ideas, who in her long life has learned much, who in spite of the tumultuousness of her own journey took the time to reach out and be a guiding star to her nieces. She has been through great pain but also great joy. She has not let the harshness of life dim her curiosity and her natural cheery disposition. So, I can’t have a real conversation with Madeleine, but I can call my aunt, whose birthday is tomorrow. I can thank her for the love she’s given me and for being a bright light in the darkness. Happy birthday, dear Auntie Is.