Kent Haruf

In college, I read all of Kent Haruf's books and imagined his fictional town of Holt, Colorado. Last week, I rode my bike 62 miles from Loveland, Colorado to Cheyenne, Wyoming. About halfway, I came upon a little, rural town called Ault (population 1,574). It was just as I had imagined Holt. I checked Benediction out at the library. Haruf's final book. The plot here, if there is one, is time, and age, and death. Not a lot happens, except, everything happens. The character who all the rest call "Dad," is dying. Rapidly. There's reflection. There's coming to terms with mistakes. There's life to put to an end. Haruf's real talent was capturing humanness. And dialogue. A book where you come to know the characters so well that you feel related. I finished reading this book as I rode in a truck from NYC back to Loveland, Colorado--home. What I noticed was, Kansas is huge. This country is enormous. So much farm land. So many people living simple lives with simple jobs. But really, we're all the same. We enjoy accomplishing tasks. We enjoy being quiet, watching the afternoon drift by. We love people. We miss people. We want someone there at the end, when breathing gets tough, and our last day drifts into night. My only lament in finishing Benediction is that I live so close to Holt now, and Haruf is gone.