Thursday, May 27, 2010
Good Reads: The Stars, The Snow, The Fire
The Stars, the Snow, the Fire and you'll see why. Here is a writer whose vision is the product of deep and humble intimacy with the natural world. Here the simplest things--like the way a river freezes and thaws, or the sound of a meadowlark--are also the most profound. Things are common and miraculous at the same time, full of human lessons, and yet also blessedly oblivious to humanity and its need for lessons. Take for example this brief passage: "The wind will bring its dry snow to polish the new ice and turn it into a great slick and glare. Delicate flowers of frost will bloom upon it: small, glittering blossoms standing curled and fragile on the gritty ice, to be scattered by the first passage of air. And over the renewed expanse of ice there will be silence again, the silence of ice, unchanged since the first winter on Earth." To have rendered so exactingly the wonder of a world both temporary and timeless, and to have captured the subtleties of its shifting energy in prose as pure and fine as polished ice: how else achieve this feat but by giving away one's whole life to living? And how many of us do that?