Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hannah Coulter

I just finished this book by Wendell Berry. It was beautiful, and somehow mysterious. He's such a special writer. Some of the things he writes, I wonder, "Can this possibly be how you see life?" It's incredible, the way he finds great depth in a look, or the intricacies of work. I read his Jayber Crow last year, and enjoyed that as well. There are certainly some commonalities, as Berry is trying to impress upon us "modernists" how much we have lost in losing small farming communities. What struck me this time is that even though he clearly yearns for those times and lives that way as much as possible, he does not pass judgement on the world. It is implicit... he points out the loss without making you defensive. Instead, you want to tell him,

"Yes! I agree! I want to be so tired at the end of the day that I know I have been working hard for my family. I want to use my body in my work, not just my fingers at a keyboard. I want to embrace a life of putting up with a small group of people and all their faults, and be a community that knows they can always count on each other. I want it! I do!" I just don't know how. Oh how I wonder...
Wendell Berry may not be Catholic, but man is he... more than many who receive the Eucharist every week, he knows what it means to be a communion of persons, members of one another. He knows what it is to love God and others and nature. Here are some nice quotes:

You can't give yourself over to love for somebody without giving yourself over to suffering. (p171)

Sometimes too I could see that love is a great room with a lot of doors, where we are invited to knock and come in. Though it contains all the world, the sun, the moon, and stars, it is so small as to be also in our hearts. It is in the hearts of those who choose to come in. Some do not come in. Some may stay out forever. Some come in together and leave separately. Some come in and stay, until they die, and after. (p54)

But grief is not a force and has no power to hold. you only bear it. Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in apiece of embroidery.

1 comment:

sweet somewhere bound said...

Hey Sara,

Just posted a comment about W.Berry in my blog in response to your comment on one of my posts...

WB (the man, not the tv station) rocks the house!

hope all is well...