As the Leaves Kiss the Stream
... a story about a father and his seventeen-year-old daughter. He is a missionary; she is a problem.
Together they go camping and fly fishing in the Ozarks. Together they clash and argue.
Then one cold, October morning as they fly fished beside the pure water of the stream, together they learned something about grace.
For the tears of a father ... are as the tears of God ... that fall silently and caress the one beloved, much as the autumn leaves that gently fall and kiss the stream.
As the Leaves Kiss the Stream is a beautiful, poignant novel, a vignette of a three-day battle culminating a lifetime of passing in the night. The combatants have only words, memories, and perceptions for weapons. There is blood, tears, a baptism and the promise of rebirth. And fly fishing.
If missions begin at home, Elijah Gamble missed the boat. He’ll be the first one to admit it, once he learns how truly deep the home field and Kenya divide had grown. Elijah and Evelyn, his wife, did the best they could with their only child, daughter, Erin, to provide the safest and best education while in Africa. This is the part of the story that reveals how parenting can go so very wrong—not for lack of love or good skills, but for doing the best a parent can in a situation where that will never work out the way it should. The story reminded me of my family in a similar situation, but without the fallout.
At his wits end, Elijah takes his daughter on a camping trip to get her away from her volatile mother. The reader winces throughout his truthful inner monolog and Erin’s harsh, self-condemnation, through soaking, cold, stormy nights and days, fried trout & potatoes, caddis flies & confessions. Somewhere during these stubborn days comes the revelation of emotion and spiritual abuse from a wrongly trusted place, a deep-seated sense of abandonment. Elijah comes to grip with his call to serve God in a way he couldn’t hear while serving as an alien in a foreign land.
Told in first person from the father’s point of view, with flash forwards and real-time memories of past events, readers who appreciate and explore family drama in novella—short book—form will be touched by this lovely, thoughtful story. Hope, faith, and love…yes, these three remain.
Terry Barnes won the 2005 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest for his first novel, In Everything Give Thanks. His second novel, Whispered to the Heart, also explores the fundamental questions of life and faith. His latest novella, As the Leaves Kiss the Stream, is a story of conflict and grace between a father and his seventeen-year-old daughter, in the context of fly fishing in the Ozarks.
His writing shows the quest for meaning in the swirl of life, a struggle common to humanity. As for literature, its purpose is to illustrate truth with such words that will capture the heart and soul of the reader.
Terry is also an online adjunct professor of religion for several major universities. His website is http://terrybarnes.us.