Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Morning Thanks--Just keeping up
Somewhere, O'Connor says it: "People without hope don't write novels." Somewhere in Mystery and Manners.
Who knows why that line has stuck in my mind? I'm not sure, but it has. I feel the blasted, blessed impulse every time I sit here, fingers bent over plastic keys. Put some words together that have character and unity and meaning--which is to say, something that has hope, something that says there is meaning, something that whispers the possibility of joy thereby. Put together something with feathers--hope, Dickinson says.
Look at an image, assay some silly action, check out the flowers, watch a squirrel scamper--and give it purpose, like a Puritan, like any believer; because everything that happens has to have meaning, everything needs to come around. People without hope don't write novels, don't type blogs, don't sit in the basement, morning after morning, and try to make sense of things.
But then, people without hope don't read student papers, sell hardware, milk cows, bake raspberry muffins, or run for the town council. People without hope don't do much at all, I suppose, because all of us--those left unburdened from pits of depression anyway--want the jumble of things around us to come out right, to show some promise of meaning. We want hope. We'll do anything to get it, even write blogs.
Three years ago we felled three massive ash trees, more empty than full, three trees on our south lot line that dropped their own top-most branches and often left them suspended up there in their own ragged foliage, awaiting the next piercing prairie wind. We replaced those trees with bony new ones that won't give us an dime's worth of shade in any soon-to-come July. We'll move before that. People without hope certainly don't plant ash trees.
People without hope don't push letters along a screen. People without hope don't compose sentences, whether or not they feature saplings.
Don't know whether it's true, but I remember reading that a human being cannot willfully stop breathing--this mortal coil just won't allow it, no matter how much to be wished that kind of termination might be. For those who must, there are remedies; but one can't just quit on one's own. Can't be done.
She wasn't wrong, O'Connor that is--I'm saying, a man rounding the last turn. It's simply in us to keep our feet moving, to keep slouching along on our way to a somewhere we might see only in visions.
And for that truth, in a time of distress and chaos, I'm thankful, he said, amazed, hopeful.
p.s. That branch in the picture--it's gone, a victim of hard, summer rains.