Monday, February 24, 2014

"After the park and the street the interior of the building
seemed very silent. A long beam of sunlight, in which small
particles of dust swam about, all at once slanted through an upper
 window on the staircase, and struck the opaque glass
panels of the door. On several occasions recently I had
been conscious of approaching the brink of some
discovery; an awareness that nearly became manifest,
 then suddenly withdrew. Now the truth came flooding in with
 the dust infested sunlight. The revelation of self-identity was
inescapable. There was no doubt about it. I was me.'
Anthony Powell
quoted in Christopher Hitchens
An Omnivorous Curiosity
The Atlantic June 2001

I still seem to have lapsed into some form of winter doldrums
and am marooned in my own personal version of the horse latitudes.
I have spent, what is probably too much time thinking and reading too
 little doing, that said I will indulge in another trip down memory lane.

I have periodically in my life come to remember an experience
I had in my youth. I would probably have been in public school
possibly 9 or 10 when I came home from school and was looking
out the dining room window which faced our driveway. However it
was not the view that caught my attention but the golden light striking
the wide oak radiator cover under the window. In this instance I
experienced a moment of such clarity and strength that I remember
it to this day although nothing of significance occurred and it had no
lasting effect on my life. There are a number of words that might
encompass such an experience revelation, satori, epiphany ( indeed
epiphany has apparently become a staple of poetry and I have begun
reading Ashton Nichols The Poetics of Epiphany to explore this idea )
but all these terms seem to indicate some new found knowledge or
direction stemming from this experience. While I remember the power
of this experience I then or now eached no conclusion as to it's
significance if any in my life.

One thing that I do enjoy about reading and why I love literature and poetry
is that I  I feel a commonality with authors who are recording their own or
their characters experiences in a attempt to understand their lives or the
lives of the world around them. Even if the experiences or their conclusions
do not match my own I still find it a worthwhile experience. So while I have
nothing as yet to share about my experience I am offering quotes by some
excellent authors that may offer their "take" on such an experience.
"Against the gateway, against some cedar tree I saw blaze bright,
 Neville, Jinny, Rhoda, Susan and myself, our life, our identity.
 ...,. But we--against the brick, against the branches, we six, out
of how many million millions, for one moment out of what measureless
abundance of past time and time to come, burnt there triumphant. The
moment was all; the moment was enough."
                                 The Waves
                                          Virgina Woolfe



Kathie Brown said...

Guy, this is wonderful to read and think about. I, too, have had moments like this where I feel paused and alive and real. I think these moments of clarity are rare and exciting. I don't know why they make us feel so alive and "burning" as Virginia Woolfe says, but they do. I think they are burnt into our souls to hold onto forever and to know that we once existed.

Celeste said...

I think with the winter most of the country is experiencing this year a touch of the doldrums are perfectly permissible Guy. However I do believe that time spent reading is certainly not wasted. When the outdoors is so inhospitable there is nothing more comforting than curling up with a good book and immersing yourself in another realm.

Guy said...

Hi Kathie

I am sure you are correct. That somehow these experiences become a valued part of our inner life while so many other experiences are lost in the vast sea of the repetition that forms so much of our day.


Guy said...

Hi Celeste

I have to say I agree with your thought on reading. I have a large SF collection which I read as avidly as any classics. A few weeks ago I read The Planetoid of Doom' by Morrison Colladay 1932. The earth is struck by a large asteroid and flooding ensues. The survivors are menaced by giant sea serpents, eels octopus and bizarrely enough Tyrannosaurus Rex that can both climb and swim. For weeks after unexpectedly the thought would come to me why Tyrannosaurus? A perfect story for a cold day.

Thanks for your comments.