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This is the next excerpt from Beatrice Allen Page’s unpublished manuscript, Landscape With Figures:

“Some time in the small hours of the night I woke up from a deep sleep. Through the windows, which I always leave with the shades up, I could see a star-filled sky. On an impulse I got up, flung on a robe and slippers and walked down to the middle of the field, where I could get an unobstructed view. It was one of those nights when the stars are exceptionally bright, and there was no sound except the gentle swash of waves on the shore, a whisper of wind, and the incessant fiddling of the field crickets.

I thought of the Psalmist, wakeful at night, burdened with the cares of a kingdom, weary from battle, stepping out of his tent, looking up at the sky, and suddenly released and awed: ‘When I consider thy heavens…the moon and the stars…’ I thought of the Babylonians studying the stars to learn their destiny, and the ancient Greeks immortalizing their mythological heroes in them. I thought of the Mayans keeping watch in their observatories to make their extraordinary calculations. I thought of all the unknown millions of men and women who have stood even as I, down through the centuries, gazing at the panorama of stars, listening to the thundering silence beyond the stars, and feeling a mingling of exaltation and fear. And I was glad of those lowly little crickets whose chirping kept the silence and infinitude from being overwhelming.

It was on just such a night of brilliant stars that I used to imagine the word of the Lord coming unto the prophets. I visualized them standing alone in a boundless open space, on top of a mountain or by the sea or most often in the middle of a vast plain, and out of that silent immensity came the revelation. It began perhaps with a shiver down the spine, then visions and words welling up in their minds, and lastly a compelling urge toward utterance.

Last night I wondered if in those awesome moments they, too, were not grateful for the small, humble, down-to-earth crickets making a joyful noise unto the Lord.”

 

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