Fever Season is the working title of the Civil War Era novel that I have been writing for an embarrassing number of years and plan to eventually begin to share on this blog.
The term “fever season” was once a common Southern reference to the time of year when temperatures began to rise and the general populace would brace themselves for the variety of terrifying diseases that would soon follow. Anyone who has ever spent more than 15 minutes in the South knows that hot temperatures and “fever season” comprise a good bit of every year…This was nothing that was going to blow over quickly.
Fever Season does give a nod to that historic and tragic reality of plagues such as Yellow Fever and Typhus that came calling each summer along Southern waterways and ports-of-call. I also use the term as a metaphor for that turbulent season which our young country weathered in the mid- 19th century beginning with the run-up to the Civil War as well as the ensuing reconstruction era when everything fell into chaos.
Reconstruction was a time of volatile, societal shaking at every level, touching every demographic. Decades of post war upheaval fueled an expulsion of a displaced generation from the shambles of a now irrelevant path. The ” West” held the promise of a nebulous, neutral and untainted future and it was open for business. This allure of easy Western boom-town riches, the siren -song of cheap land and fresh dreams must have been difficult to resist.
Fever Season follows the Tolliver family of Vicksburg, Mississippi and the crossing adventures of a young Union Cavalry officer, James Albright, from New Hampshire during the long seige of Vicksburg and beyond, as they all scrambled to find their place in a new America.
As I researched and wrote the first draft of this novel it began to dawn on me that we, in America, are facing another such fever season. Historic parallels reveal a shockingly similar national /legal disregard for sanctity of life in the institution of abortion that young America sanctioned in legalized slavery. Where is that burgeoning wave of abolitionist fervor today for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves?
Extreme polarization along political party lines was one of the hallmarks of the years prior to the Civil War and is common today. It renders progress, compromise, common sense or any national goals extremely unlikely.
The long years of the Civil War left a generation, both Northern and Southern, fatherless and impoverished in spirit. While not a result of years of senseless bloodshed; years of moral decline and spiritual apostasy have left an unprecedented percentage of our young people to be raised in a fatherless, rudderless, electronic world.
Our so-called Generation X, like the the post- Civil War generation, is floundering and fearful ( and rightly so) of their future prospects in a changing, uncertain economy.
In his 1906 publication, ” The Life of Reason”, we find this oft quoted and seldom heeded cautionary statement by author George Santayana , ” Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I hope to explore these observations from history and scripture and how they may or may not apply to our lives today. I look forward to hearing what you think. Are we bracing for a new and more devastating Fever Season?