Do pictures tell? I have a color Polaroid of Vance at seven and Veronica at twenty-nine traversing a rickety dry-gray dock in Nova Scotia to board a fishing boat. The water is a deep iron smeared with plates of foam; the sky is a thin iron smeared with same; the mass of white gulls around Vance's outstretched bread-filled hand is a cloud of plunging white V's. Vance Vigorous, as he holds out his white little child's hand, is surrounded and obscured by a cloud of living, breathing shrieking, shitting, plunging incarnations of the letter V; and I have it captured forever on quality film, giving me the right and power to cry whenever and wherever I please. What might that say about pictures.
an unexpectedly beautiful and sad paragraph
Frogs were keeping time in air drenched with honeysuckle.
beautiful line. interspersed between dialogue (with her father)
[...] The room is swirling with our invectives when--in the doorway--there stands Dev in his three-year-old body. He's naked and gap-mouthed. All the raging that swirls around us arrests into violent stasis. The fury in the room dispels itself like smoke siphoned up with a hose.
[...] But on bright summer days, in particular, so evenly disposed a lustre lay over the whole of Barmouth Bay that the separate surfaces of sand and water, sea and land, earth and sky could no longer be distinguished. All forms and colours were dissolved in a pearl-grey haze; there were no contrasts, no shading any more, only flowing transitions with the light throbbing through them, a single blur from which only the most fleeting of visions emerged, and strangely--I remember this well--it was the very evanescence of those visions that gave me, at the time, something like a sense of eternity. [...]
[...] it was truly terrifying to see such emptiness open up a foot away from firm ground, to realize that there was no transition, only this dividing line, with ordinary life on one side and its unimaginable opposite on the other. The chasm into which no ray of light could penetrate [...]
And time in the P.M. locker room seems of limitless depth; they've all been just here before, just like this, and will be again tomorrow. The light saddening outside, a grief felt in the bones, a sharpness to the edge of the lengthening shadows.
I don't believe we can ever turn upon ourselves in the sense Ellen intends. You can't get behind the thing that casts the shadow. You cast the shadow. As soon as you turn, the shadow falls in another place. Is still your shadow. You have not gotten "behind" yourself. That is why self-consciousness is not the way to make ourselves better than we are.
Just me and my shadow, walkin' down the avenue.
It is a beautiful day here in North Carolina. The first day that is both cool and sunny all summer. After a terrible summer, first drought, then heat wave, then torrential rain, trees down, flooding. Now, finally, beautiful weather. A tree outside my window just brushed by red, with one fully red leaf. (This is what I want you to see.) A person sitting in stocking feet looking out her window-a floor to ceiling rectangle filled with green, with one red leaf. The season poised, sunny and chill, ready to rush down the incline into autumn. But perfect, and still. Not going yet.
Outside, the lead-gray afternoon slipped almost imperceptibly into twilight. Very gradually the earth moved toward night and as I sat eating I noted every darkening shadow. Jean sipped his coffee and lighted a Pall Mall. My mother arranged the kerosene lamp so she could see to do the dishes.
"Frank, get me some water."
Through the door and into the twilight, the bucket against my thigh. There was a path beaten through the snow, a dark line curving through the drifts to the well. The low sky was empty, uniformly leaden. Stands of trees spread pools of darkness, as if night came up from their sunken roots. [...]
One muggy evening, I realized the time had come to say goodbye. I asked Harjinder to remove the oxygen mask and leave the room. My mother and sister sat on the edge of the bed. I opened my father’s mouth and gave him the first dose of morphine. Over the next few hours, I poured into him all the morphine I had.
The air in the room grew thick. Each breath sounded like a sea roaring for an eternity. He was slipping, he was drowning, and at times he appeared to be resisting. Tears flowed from his eyes until all the air left him and his body sank.
The power went out. The entire house fell into darkness. It felt timely; we didn’t have to see each other’s grief-stricken faces.
When I return from Maine, home again, I open the door to my apartment, afraid my roses will be withered, fainting dead. No rain for four days. I rush to the back, where I find them giddy, hurling color up from the ground like children with streamers at a parade.