Monday, July 04, 2011

Waiting It Out

I am trying to read George MacDonald again -- Lilith -- and failing. I find him arch and overbearing, both, and I find myself wanting to ask: are you quite sure that the keys were given into your hand? And why should I want to be lectured all day long by an English parson, even if he is a shapeshifter? I think of myself often as a misplaced Victorian, but even I don't have quite that appetite for being improved.

So I lay it aside again. I had wanted to read Eddison, Mistress of Mistresses, but Eddison is packed up with all the E's: both Eliots, Emerson, Edwards. I lie back on the bed, and experience the summer warmth, for the first time this year. Firecrackers pop and things that surely aren't legal blow up, apparently just behind my ear; others whistle and thrash. But the feel of the day is peaceful, and the leaves play with the setting sun: I treat the howling and bursting things as if they were the surf of some ocean, crashing on the shore of the street.

A feeling as if the bones of my hands and feet have grown too large: a faint dustiness between my fingers and toes, a thirst that won't quite be addressed by any drink to hand. I wait for the 4th of July to be over with more patience than I've mustered for decades. I have, like Jefferson, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind. Twice a year I can wait.

Ah, but tomorrow, tomorrow I will run like a dog on the beach, and bite the waves, and shake water all over my friends, and no one will make me behave, not for a moment.


Zhoen said...

I read the Curdie books when I was small, but never came across Lilith.

Woken often last night to very loud fireworks, most very probably illegal.

Lucy said...

I think maybe Tom read that book. when he wakes up I'll ask him about it.

I am impressed that all the 'e's get packed together.

Kathleen said...

Oh, I am glad of your "dog" run & shake!

YourFireAnt said...

Sounds delicious, you dog. ;-)

Dale said...


Anne said...

I read The Princess and Curdie when I was young. It did not leave me feeling particularly improved, I'm pleased to say, so I remain to this day unimproved by Mr. MacDonald -- or any other writer I suspect.

But I did love your prose in that post.

When my father was an elderly gent and was greeted with, "How are you Mr Wadleigh?" he invariably replied, "Much improved, much improved!" He was such an optimist.

Dale said...

"Much improved," I love that! I think I'll adopt it myself.

marly youmans said...

I read "Lilith" so long ago that I do not remember it. Think I was 19. And "Phantastes" (which I definitely liked better)... I loved "At the Back of the North Wind" as a child but would be afraid to read it now.

What I like best is picking around in his collected stories for children. They can be too sweet in places, but they have life to them and can still please--and besides, some of them are illustrated by the great Maurice Sendak. His fattish princess in "The Light Princess" is marvelous!

Hope you enjoyed barking and peeing on lampposts.