Saturday, March 15, 2008

March winds

“The traditional March winds have been around for several months, but now they come again, leaf lifting, tree shaking. It is terrifying to see a huge tree move and shake clear to its roots. Or does it only seem to move? The branches whip and bend, they strain, and the roar of the wind strikes terror to our hearts and we think the tree has moved from bud to root. The wind is glorious and pagan. It blows the dust of our lives a thousand miles. We read the dust. If there’s a deadly message in it, that’s for us to know. The wind comes bearing things with it, lifting up, sweeping on. The great invisible river that has no need or knowledge of us.”

- from “The Inland Island,” a book of essays published in 1969 by Josephine Johnson (1910-1990). Johnson won the Pulitzer Prize for her first book, a novel, “Now in November” in 1935. She was only 24-years-old at the time.


Vickie said...

How enormous is your library. This is a deep and beautiful quote.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

Yes. I am blessed. Books keep finding their way into my house. As we all know, Thoreau lived a very austere lifestyle, but he said that you can never have too many books.

I only discovered Josephine Johnson lately. A Pulitzer Prize at 24 for a novel but later in her life, she wrote non-fiction. I love her sentence, "The wind is glorious and pagan." How wonderfully true.

“The Inland Island” has a dark edge to it. She wrote it in the late 60s when this country was caught up in the Vietnam War. The senselessness of that conflict and what it said about humanity kept creeping into her prose. Our out-of-control raging egos often put us into harms way.

At times, when current events make no sense to me, I go for a walk in the woods and everything is put right once again. Nature is exquisitely sensible.