Saturday, February 5, 2011

There is a light in Gilead: Quotes

"When people come to speak to me, whatever they say, I am struck by a kind of kind of incandescence in them, the "I" whose predicate can be "love" or "fear" or "want," and whose object can be "someone" or "nothing" and it won't really matter, because the loveliness is just in that presence, shaped around "I" like a flame on a wick, emanating itself in grief and guilt and joy and whatever else. But quick, and avid, and resourceful."

"The twinkling of an eye. That is the most wonderful expression. I've thought from time to time it was the best thing in life, that little incandescence you see in people when the charm of the thing strikes them, or the humor of it."

"The sprinkler is a magnificent invention because it exposes raindrops to sunshine. That does occur in nature, but it is rare...you two are dancing around in your iridescent little downpour, whooping and stomping as sane people ought to do when they encounter a thing so miraculous as water."

"I walked him out to the porch, and there were more fireflies out there than I had ever seen in my life, thousands of them everywhere, just drifting up out of the grass, extinguishing themselves in midair. We sat on the steps a good while in the dark and the silence, watching them. Finally Boughton said, 'Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.' And really, it was that night as if the earth were smoldering. Well, it was, and it is. An old fire will make a dark husk for itself and settle in on its core, as in the case of this planet. I believe the same metaphor may describe the human individual, as well. Perhaps Gilead. Perhaps civilization. Prod a little and the sparks will fly. I don't know whether the verse but a blessing on the fireflies or the fireflies put a blessing on the verse, or if both of them put a blessing on trouble, but I have loved them both a good deal ever since."

"I believe the old man did indeed have far too narrow an idea of what a vision might be. He may, so to speak, have been to dazzled by the great light of his experience to realize that an impressive sun shines on us all."

"Our dream of life will end as dreams do end, abruptly and completely, when the sun rises, when the light comes. And we will think, All that fear and all that grief were about nothing. But that cannot be true. I can't believe we will forget our sorrows altogether. That would mean forgetting that we had lived, humanly speaking."

"You are standing up on the seat of your swing and sailing higher than you really ought to, with that bold, planted stance of a sailor on a billowy sea. The ropes are long and you are light and the ropes bow like cobwebs, laggardly, indolent. Your shirt is red--it is your favorite shirt--and you fly into the sunlight and pause there brilliantly for a second and then fall back into the shadows again. You appear to be altogether happy. I remember those first experiments with fundamental things, gravity and light, and what an absolute pleasure they were."

"The moon looks wonderful in this warm evening light, just as a candle flame looks beautiful in the light of morning. Light within a light...It seems to me to be a a metaphor for the human soul, the singular light within the great general light of existence."

"Even the Holy of Holies was broken open. The deep darkness vanished into ordinary daylight, and the mystery of God was only made more splendid."

"It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor grey ember of Creation and it turns to radiance--for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light...But the Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than it seems to imply. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?"

"I too will smolder away the time until the great and general incandescence."

2 comments:

  1. I love this collection. It helps me to see little smoldering points and possibilities all over the place.

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