Sunday, August 22, 2010

An Unaccountable Feeling

There are so many things, he said quietly, that we can't see but that we believe in, so many places that seem to possess an unaccountable feeling, a presence, an absence. Sometimes it takes time to learn this, like a child who suddenly realizes for the first time that the ball he threw over the fence has not disappeared.
-- From The Winter Vault, by Anne Michaels --

I'm finding that this author Anne Michaels does not waste words.
In other words, every part of what she has her characters realize, is important.
As with poetry, here, in her prose, one must often re-read lines.
I brooded over those phrases, "an unaccountable feeling, a presence, an absence." I thought of Abraham Maslow's phrase, "freshness of appreciation."
Life bursts with things that ought to be appreciated.
The discovery of these things depends upon our willingness to be aware.

I like relaxing.
I like the sound of wind in trees.
The sound of wind in trees, relaxes me.
Hence, whenever I can….. I listen.

In June, I visited my sister and her family in Saskatoon.
The event, the wedding of her daughter, my niece.
One morning I awoke, inexplicably early. Not a creature was stirring…
I went outside, into the same backyard that, the evening before, was the site of a party. In fact, the embers of the fire were still…. embering -- in the firepit yonder. Wisps of smoke. And the trees were chattering.

So I went back into the house, and retrieved my camera. I lay down, flat on my back, and recorded the conversation.
When I finished this breathless minute of footage, I set the camera down in the grass, and my sister asked me if I was a lunatic.
She had come out of the house, and was standing directly behind me the whole time.
I replied in the affirmative.

The very paragraph in The Winter Vault, cited above, goes on to say:
I used to sit with my mother in Grandmother Escher's Cambridgeshire garden and we would feel that strong wind from the Ural Mountains in our faces. The wind is invisible, but the Ural Mountains are not! Yet why should we believe in the Ural Mountains that we can't see when we're sitting in a garden in Cambridgeshire and not believe in other things, an inner knowledge we feel just as keenly? Nothing exists independently. Not a single molecule, not a thought.


Stefanie said...

I don't think you are a lunatic at all. I love wind in the trees. I am glad you are enjoying the Anne Michaels book. I got it for my husband for his birthday last month so now I am sure he will like it.

Isabella said...

I'm glad you're liking this book -- I thought it exquisite. You're right -- she does not waste words, every word is carefully chosen, loaded. It's very poetic.

You remind me that I want to look up her earlier novel.

Melwyk said...

I love this moment of tree-ness. If you are a lunatic, you are the best kind.