And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
Remember that you and I made this journey together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.
Life is pleasant. Life is good. The mere process of life is satisfactory. Take the ordinary man in good health. He likes eating and sleeping. He likes the snuff of fresh air and walking at a brisk pace down the Strand. Or in the country there’s a cock crowing on a gate; there’s a foal galloping round a field. Something always has to be done next. Tuesday follows Monday; Wednesday Tuesday. Each spreads the same ripple of well-being, repeats the same curve of rhythm; covers fresh sand with a chill or ebbs a little slackly without. So the being grows rings; identity becomes robust. What was fiery and furtive like a fling of grain cast into the air and blown hither and thither by wild gusts of life from every quarter is now methodical and orderly and flung with a purpose - so it seems.
Barter Books: Home of the original WWII poster. Rediscovered by Barter Books in the bottom of a box of old books bought in auction in 2000, the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster has since become a national icon. (Photo by Meadow Girl)
I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness-in a landscape selected at random-is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern-to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.
So that is the meaning of discipline, I thought, sacrifice… yes, and blindness; he doesn’t see me. He doesn’t even see me. Am I about to strangle him? I do not know. He cannot possibly. I still do not know. See! Discipline is sacrifice. Yes, and blindness. Yes.
“The Prince and the Pauper” by Mark Twain. This 1881 novel about a poor boy, Tom Canty, who exchanges identities with Edward Tudor, the prince of England, is at once an adventure story, a fantasy of timeless appeal, and an intriguing example of the author’s abiding preoccupation with separating the true from the false, the genuine from the impostor.