Tags

, , , ,

The next segment of Beatrice Allen Page’s manuscript, “Landscape With Figures:”

“The sky when I opened my eyes a few minutes before sunrise was like the inside of some tropical shell: a smooth and satiny coral fading into pink, and pink fading into paler pink, and finally palest pink fading into pearl. It amused me to think of myself as the little animal inhabiting that shell. It was rather an arrogant notion, I realized, as if I were the only inhabitant of the whole world.

That led to my wondering if a real shell is ever occupied by more than one animal, by twins or triplets or even a litter. I could visualize Siamese twins inside one scallop or clam shell but when I tried to conjure up an image of two conches sharing one shell, all I could get was a confused impression of two amorphous blobs spirally intertwined with something like a half-nelson on each other.

I was dismayed again, as I have been several times since I arrived, at how ignorant I am about the whole creation. I don’t even know why the sun looks perfectly round or why it doesn’t burn itself up. What dismays me more is that for most of my adult life I have taken my ignorance for granted, putting labels on things without really beholding the miracle of them. Perhaps that’s true of most people nowadays. Perhaps that’s why the word “behold” sounds archaic.

Is it because the technical achievements of our electronic age are so spectacular they steal the show from the natural world which is not of our own making? Because a spaceship, for instance, seems more astounding than the stars in their courses and the mysteries behind them? Or is it just because as we grow up we become so preoccupied with our own passionate pursuits we have no time left for the world around us?”

Advertisements