Nothing to Say, No One to Say It To

I’m reading Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” for my book club, and trying very hard to finish it before Thursday, because after all it is my book club and I should at least be one of the ones who finishes the book.

One of the characters — I am not sure which one, Cora’s husband — ponders on how people need to “do”, beyond the mind. It is the sort of comment that leapt out at me, for two reasons.

One, the book is starkly rural, plain spoken and in the moment. The characters are revealed, however, internally and show to have much more complex internal lives than their “active” life shows.  They are acting, and doing very little, except fitting in the death of mother around the never-ending routine of their rural lives.

The second reason is revealing itself to me, everyday, the more I get to know myself, and the nature of life. I plant a garden, I love a garden– a garden is exhausting work. I ponder the desire to do less. I buy a house, I buy things for the house — I have no time, soon, to maintain the house. I ponder leaving the house behind and moving on again.

I am the seasons, or wish I could be more with them. Modern world wants nothing to do with the inherent cyclical nature of our world, of our bodies, of the true desires in embedded in our human nature. Work, enjoy, rest, reflect and get up to work again.

I didn’t sleep tonight. I’ve been stoking myself on caffeine lately and fooling myself that it will somehow compensate for the complete subtraction of ME from my life these last months. But I am confident in the seasons, even when summer hides from us. The doing will come again.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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