Notebook (light years)

August 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

1977: “My most frequent thought, during the funeral of my brother, is that my thinking is superficial. Any tears I shed are facile. The architecture of the early-eighteenth-century church is splendid. The smell in the vestibule of wood, the heat, and some salt from the nearby sea is, I think, unique to this part of the world and unlocks my memory. The high arched windows with their many lights must make it a cruel place to worship in the winter, but on this splendid summer day they make of the building a frame for the trees and the sky. I do not miss my brother at all. I think that he, with my mother, regarded death as no mystery at all. Life had been mysterious and thrilling, I often heard them say, but death was of no consequence. Some clinician would say that, while I part so easily from my brother, I will, for the rest of my life, seek in other men the love he gave to me. /

Alienation seems to be the word. I feel alienated. This is keen but not painful; no more than a premonition of physical pain, which one has experienced and will again. … At two a fine snow begins to fall. This is the snow that I, as a young skier, literally prayed for. It is very light, but copious; it is the sort of snow that fell on a happy afternoon last year when I skied with P. Night falls; the snow goes on and on – “five inches of powder on a packed base,” one used to read. I shovel the stairs. The snow is like nothing, like air; and yet it holds the light that comes from the windows of the house. My daughter arrives in the middle of the storm after a dangerous journey. I much love her, pray for her happiness, and go to bed in my own bed, where I dream of a love. /

So my hours of happiest comprehension seem limited. They are roughly from six to eight in the morning, and it is now half past nine. For reasons, perhaps, of decorum, comprehension, or dishonesty I recast my dilemma in the light of those days when my brother left for Germany and I lay on the sofa crying for him. The sofa was a ridged, Victorian piece of furniture constructed for straight-backed callers taking a cup of tea. This I remember vividly. I wept for a love that could only bring me narrowness and misery and denial; and how passionately I wept. And so I weep again (not really), and go out for dinner looking, really, for nothing but company and warm food.”

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