Monday, March 7, 2011

Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse"

It has been a while.
Lately, I have spent more time talking about art than writing about it. - And then I drove into the snowy mountains, parked my car, went further up and away on a snowmobile, and skied for a week, far offline...

When I got back to town yesterday, there was no snow left; the pavements were dry, and there was a hint of spring in the light evening air. But when I woke up this morning, it was snowing again.

Sometimes - often in the mornings - I read random passages from To the Lighthouse, - just because Virginia Woolf wrote so beautifully. Filling myself up with her prose makes a good start to any day, and today I happened to come across this poetic description of spring:

The spring without a leaf to toss, bare and bright like a virgin fierce in her chastity, scornful in her purity, was laid out on fields wide-eyed and watchful and entirely careless of what was done or thought by the beholders. [...]

As summer neared, as the evenings lengthened, there came to the wakeful, the hopeful, walking the beach, stirring the pool, imaginations of the strangest kind - of flesh turned to atoms which drove before the wind, of stars flashing in their hearts, of cliff, sea, cloud, and sky brought purposely together to assemble outwardly the scattered parts of the vision within. In those mirrors, the minds of men, in those pools of uneasy water, in which clouds for ever turn and shadows form, dreams persisted, and it was impossible to resist the strange intimation which every gull, flower, tree, man and woman, and the white earth itself seemed to declare (but if questioned at once to withdraw) that good triumphs, happiness prevails, order rules; or to resist the extraordinary stimulus to range hither and thither in search of some absolute good, some crystal of intensity, remote from the known pleasures and familiar virtues, something alien to the processes of domestic life, single, hard, bright, like a diamond in the sand, which would render the possessor secure. Moreover, softened and acquiescent, the spring with her bees humming and gnats dancing threw her cloak about her, veiled her eyes, averted her head, and among passing shadows and flights of small rain seemed to have taken upon her a knowledge of the sorrows of mankind.

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