Sunday, January 31, 2010

I remember running through the wet grass

I'd like to share two of my favorite passages from the short story "Blackberry Winter" by Robert Penn Warren.

This first one comes after the narrator's mother tries to make him wear shoes outside:

"Nobody had ever tried to stop me in June as long as I could remember, and when you are nine years old, what you remember seems forever; for you remember everything and everything is important and stands bigs and full and fills up Time and is so solid that you can walk around and around it like a tree and look at it. You are aware that times passes, that there is a movement in time, but that is not what Time is. Time is not a movement, a flowing, a wind then, but is, rather, a kind of climate in which things are, and when a thing happens it begins to live and keeps on living and stands solid in Time like the tree that you can walk around. And if there is a movement, the movement is not Time itself, any more than a breeze is climate, and all the breeze does is shake a little the leaves on the tree which is alive and solid. When you are nine, you know that there are things you don't know, but you know that when you know something you know it. You know how a thing has been and you know that you can go barefoot in June."

This one makes me think of playing in the woods behind the house I grew up in, but there's more to it than that, which is what makes it so good.

"When you are a boy and stand in the stillness of woods, which can be so still that your heart almost stops beating and makes you want to stand there in the green twilight until you feel your very feet sinking into and clutching the earth like roots and your body breathing slow through its pores like the leaves--when you stand there and wait for the next drop to drop with its small, flat sound to a lower lead, that sound seems to measure out something, to put an end to something, to begin something, and you cannot wait for it to happen and are afraid it will not happen, and then when it has happened, you are waiting again, almost afraid."

More reading, writing and research today. Happy Sunday!

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