May Love Be Equal to the Task

I just deleted most of this post, because that's what I do. What's left doesn't make much sense, but who said I ever make sense?

John and I read Howards End recently, together-apart.  Given a stack of potential books to read, I wouldn't have singled it out, but it surprised me, and I enjoyed it a great deal.  I don't take notes while reading a book for the first time (with apologies to all you commonplace journalers), but I was tempted to extract lines here and there to save for later.  I didn't, but now I find myself thinking of several of those lines and wishing I could recall them more clearly (and now all you commonplace journalers are saying, "See!  I told you so.")  Wait a minute...
There.  I just looked up one quote that sunk straight into me so that I wouldn't mangle it through rephrasing:
Under cosmopolitanism, if it comes, we shall receive no help from the earth. Trees and meadows and mountains will only be a spectacle, and the binding force that they once exercised on character must be entrusted to Love alone. May Love be equal to the task!
Life behind the blog is fraught with tangles, as living is for everyone.  These winter months have minor hardship (not even hardship when looking at the reality of worldwide suffering), and they can stretch long.  In the quiet and dark, I wake up with the company of old sorrows and new worries, as everyone does.

Trees, meadows, mountains.  Those secret spaces still exist, and a part of me is still there in them.  A quick walk down the hill, and there they wait. The true 10-year-old self, the turbulent 16-year-old self,  the sober 20-year-old self-- right there.  Perched on the rock where the deer spoke; swinging legs from the barn beam, watching the sun illumine dust; hiding under the dripping, mossy overhang by the ravine.


Nanno said...

You still have the little bounce horse! =)

Abigail said...

The only way we WOULDN'T have the horse if it we accidentally burned the house down and couldn't save it in time. Eight children have enjoyed it so far, and Skylark's yet to come. That's some high-quality work you did; it's one of the closest things to an heirloom we've got! :)

Abigail said...

If it? You know.

Rebecca said...

You're right- those daffodils were so very very much brightening to a soul yearning for spring.

The last paragraph- do you find those secret places and those young and hazy Abigails dancing among them to be a comfort to you or an occasional bitterness? I have only ever thought of comfort when I think of those same known, commonplaces that one grows and flourishes among. I found it interesting though, that in the end of HOME (Marilynne Robinson) that "Glory", the female character returned home after heartbreak, finds everything to be a bitterness. "Home. What kinder place could there be on earth, and why did it seem to them all like exile? Oh, not to know every stump and stone, not to remember how the fields of Queen Anne's lace figured in the childish happiness they had offered to their father's hopes..."

I loved Home by the way. Even more than Gilead or Lila. The last bit broke me into a thousand pieces and pieced every word back together for me. I am happy to know that fiction is not all "Christian romance" drivel, as I grew up thinking with my mother's recommended reads. It can be so wonderful! I have you to thank for that- and your little encouragements to open myself up to the worth of it. I have a tremendous amount of catching up to do!

Abigail said...

Those spaces are certainly a comfort-- they're bound into my bones-- but like anything else that figured more strongly in the past than the present, visiting them as an adult is shot through with a bit of bittersweet sadness, more at the passage of time than anything else. My children have reinvented some of these spots as their own, which is a unique experience, too, to flash back to childhood through one's own children.

I still haven't even started Lila! I was sidetracked by some Christmas and V-day gift books, and then completely derailed by R.A.L afferty's historical novel Okla Hannali, which, in its turn, is breaking me wide open. "Oh the lips that are cold! Oh the fine bodies that come to stink! Oh the smoke that will not rise again!"

When I read Lila and Home, you've got to come over so we can book-talk! Or before...I'm always up for some book-talk. :)

Leah said...

I need to see pictures of your "To Read" pile, Abby. (And yours, Rebecca!) I just had to go find a (like new used hardcover but for a great price [from bookfinder.com]) copy of Home. I've been making an effort over the last 15 months or so to do more reading, something I haven't done much of since the older children got to be about school age. The hard part, for me, is finding good reading material. I'm so over the Christian fiction/romances from my younger years.

Abigail said...

My problem doesn't lie in not finding good reading material. It's in finding too much good reading material and not enough lifetime for it all!

I slip a few minutes of reading into each day, but I miss those golden days when I could spend hours hunched over a book reading myself right into a migraine. (Which sounds terrible, but, still...HOURS.)

When you next visit, I'll show you a stack or two. I don't know what your tastes are, but surely you'll find something. :)