You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Literature’ tag.
A yearly tradition, I pull Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” from my bookshelf just before Christmas. If I am in a foul mood from fighting for parking spaces in the local mall, I remember what is real and important each time I read this wonderful story. Here is a portion:
“A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable – not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. “Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather.” The person to whom she is speaking is myself. I am seven; she is sixty-something. We are cousins, very distant ones, and we have lived together – well as long as I can remember. Other people inhabit the house, relatives and though they have power over us, and frequently make us cry, we are not, on the whole, too much aware of them. We are each other’s best friend….”
Copyright 1956 by Truman Capote, published by Random House
Peggy Pond Church spent most of her life among the mountains and mesas of New Mexico… her profound sense of place is evident in her poetry and prose.
RETURN TO A LANDSCAPE by Peggy Pond Church
Oh these are plains that summon
something like music to a man’s blood,
a surge, a deep-sea swelling.
Doors open within him on a far space
broken only by morning and evening.
A feeling of wildness
knocks at his unaccustomed heart.
It is as though a released bird
remembered the use of wings.
The sloping grasslands
waken ancient nomadic dreams.
Visions of grazing herds begin to shimmer;
the horseman wakens . . .
“I write to keep from getting lost.” – Quotation from Peggy Pond Church (Trails over the Pajarito)
Peggy Pond Church. The House at Otowi Bridge. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1959, 1960.
Peggy Pond Church. This Dancing Ground of Sky. Santa Fe: Red Crane Press, 1993.
Peggy Pond Church. Accidental Magic. Albuquerque: Wildflower Press, 2004.
I’ve rediscovered Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book Gift from the Sea,
Vintage Books 1978
An exerpt from chapter VI: Argonauta:
“We wake in the same small room from the deep sleep of good children, to the soft sound of wind through the casuarina trees and the gentle sleep-breathing rhythm of waves on the shore. We run bare-legged to the beach, which lies smooth, flat, and glistening with fresh wet shells after the night’s tides. The morning swim has the nature of a blessing to me, a baptism, a rebirth to the beauty and wonder of the world…. And then to work, behind closed doors neither of us would want to invade. What release to write so that one forgets oneself, forgets one’s companion, forgets where one is or what one is going to do next – to be drenched in work as one is drenched in sleep or in the sea. Pencils and pads and curling blue sheets alive with letters heap up on the desk. And then, pricked by hunger, we rise at last in a daze, for a late lunch. Reeling a little from our intense absorption, we come back with relief to the small chores of getting lunch, as if they were lifelines to reality – as if we had indeed almost drowned in the sea of intellectual work and welcomed the firm ground of physical action under our feet…. Then out onto the beach for the afternoon where we are swept clean of duties….we walk up the beach in silence, but in harmony, as the sandpipers ahead of us move like a corps of ballet dancers keeping time to some interior rhythm inaudible to us. Intimacy is blown away. Emotions are carried out to sea. We are even free of thought, at least of their articulation; clean and bare as whitened driftwood; empty as shells, ready to be filled up again with the impersonal sea and sky and wind…. And when we are heavy and relaxed as the seaweed under our feet, we return at dusk to the warmth and intimacy of our cottage…. We sip sherry at leisure in front of a fire. We start supper and we talk. Is it the uninterrupted dark expanse of the night after the bright segmented day, that frees us to each other? Or does the infinite space and infinite darkness dwarf and chill us, turning us to seek small human sparks? ….Before we sleep we go out again into the night. We walk up the beach under the stars. And when we are tired of walking, we lie flat on the sand under a bowl of stars. We feel stretched, expanded to take in their compass. They pour into us until we are filled with stars, up to the brim. This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide….”