After almost no sleep ...
I got up at 8:30 or so ... fell asleep at about 4:30 ... and begged off snow shoeing.
Then I made a chicken pot pie ... cooked chicken, chicken gravy, freshly cooked potatoes, carrots and onions under a tea biscuit crust. It looks lovely but I am not overjoyed with the flavour. I may pop Peter's portion in as an extra with the instructions to re-heat in the oven and apply spices liberally ... and eat as soon as he receives it. Or I may play it safe and not damage my reputation by giving him any even as a gift!
I finished my first reading of The Elegance of the Hedgehog ... and now want to read it again soon ... savouring it. But first I want to finish reading Eat, Pray, Love which I started last night.
Hedgehog is a story about two protagonists caught in the world where materialism reigns. One has given up on love; the other on life. They hide their real identities and pretend to be dullards, but they are found out by a Japanese man with exquisite taste and no pretensions. The book is about more than that simple plot line. It is about life, beauty and transience and how they are linked.
I think I wrote in an earlier post that this book is really philosophy masquerading as fiction, and so what remains after this first reading is the ideas and insights which, like the spirits of the newly dead, hover around the body for a while after the light goes out..
Here are some of the quotes that stayed with me and made me think ...
"I was in the back room, euphoric, my eyes filling with tears, in the miraculous presence of Art."
"Why do two short, unexplained scenes, not driven by anything in the plot, arouse in us such a powerful emotion, containing the entire film between their ineffable parentheses?"
"True novelty is that which does not grow old. despite the passage of time."
"The contemplation of eternity within the very movement of life."
"If you forget the future, you lose the present."
"When movement has been banished from a nature that seeks its continuity, when it becomes renegade and remarkable by virtue of its very discontinuity, it attains the level of esthetic creation. Because art is life, playing to other rhythms."
"... pity the poor in spirit who know neither the enchantment nor the beauty of language."
"Perhaps the Japanese have learned that you can only savor a pleasure when you know it is ephemeral and unique; armed with this knowledge, they are yet able to weave their lives."
"Birch trees/ teach me that I am nothing/And that I am deserving of life"
"I suddenly felt my spirit expand, for I was capable of grasping the utter beauty of the trees."
"For art is an emotion without desire."
"Eternity: for all its invisibility, we gaze at it."
"... beauty consists of its own passing, just as we reach for it. it is the ephemeral configuration of things in the moment, when you can see both their beauty and their death .... does this mean that this is how we must live our lives? Constantly poised between beauty and death, between movement and its disappearance? Maybe that is what being alive is all about: so we can track down those moments that are dying."
The last few words of the novel: "Don't worry, Renee. I won't commit suicide and I won't burn a thing. Because from now on, for you, I'll be searching for those moments of always within never. Beauty in this world."
It is a book that made me want to escape the demands of the world, seek out the spare tranquility of a Zen garden, and meditate.