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Clap hands and sing

Not to be outdone by both superfoo and lidocafe , who have posted beautiful things about how much they love the world and people, here is something that expresses my credo about the world, in the words of Jill Paton Walsh, in one of my all-time favourite books, Unleaving (this is to kick off the Easter weekend):

And what shall we sing about? Madge asks herself. Why, whatever brute or blackguard, or random chance made the world, was surely a marvelous conjuror, a dab hand at spectacle! What shall we sing about? Fish to eat fresh from the salt sea, sweet berries from the thorn, bread from the brown furrow, and the orient wheat. We shall see every day, if we just raise our eyes to the hills, the movements of wind and water, and the fall of the light. There are never two moments the same, what with sky and weather, and tide, the passage of time, and the random fall of the rain. To be alive is to be bodily present, to notice where and when one is. Here we are: like amateur actors on some magnificent stage, dwarfed by the cosmic grandeur of our setting, muffing our lines, but producing now and then a fitful gleam of our own, an act of mortal beauty.
"What shall we clap?" she says to Peter. "The lifeboat in the storm. What shall we sing? The beauty of the world!"


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2007 03:41 am (UTC)
Lovely! Tell me more about the book.

For a while, a friend of mine (for whom I have a special email account) would offer each other one beautiful thing a day. We haven't run out.

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
We call them superwonderfulsublime things, actually!

For me, the McCarthy bit resonates because it confronts the dark and touches the light at the same time. "Someday" and "not today" are the essential human experience in three words. That the complexity of your life can end is mind-boggling, but that it can even exist in the first place, or that you can continue to live your life knowing that it is temporary, that is mind-boggling too.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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