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Put Off My Sackcloth is a mosaic of essays about one writer's journey through a life fraught with crippling interior darkness in an uncertain world to the salve she finds in her "shored-up ruins" and new maternal life beneath the lambent glow of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in South-Central Colorado. The daughter of a Jewish refuge from Nazi Germany and an American mother prone to suicidal depression, Annie Dawid, in these essays, traces the history of her life, pivoting between the hanging trees of her most despairing moments, the fouettés of her youth, her archetypal dig into the horrific mass suicides of Jonestown, and the aching "architectural wonders" of her beloved son, Elijah. After her father's death, Dawid finds in the wording of his will a "code" that sends her on a search for a new and better life. Dawid's rich and gratifying intellect, her cultural and political insights are enmeshed with the decisive moments of her life that lead her into emotional maelstroms and, at times, psychological bankruptcy. And yet throughout these essays, we never lose sight of Dawid's compassionate, empathetic embrace of all those she encounters who stand on fragile shores. As part of this journey, place looms large as an important character in the book. Sackcloth shines with the rural Colorado community of ranchers and artists who share with Dawid a sprawling valley of scattered coyote and spiraling constellations. Here, always, reigns the generosity of spirit, the life lesson shared, the simple hope carved out of this high mountain meadow land where Dawid lives with her son in an off-grid cabin amid cattle troughs and windmills and old pioneer tubs she fills with wildflower seed. Put Off My Sackcloth is an unblinking look at the life of one woman-daughter, mother, artist, scholar-who sought change and ultimately found illumination.