Monday, October 20, 2014


the slow fall

A seasonable passage, from H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'Brian (p.12):

"In Whitehall a grey drizzle wept down upon the Admiralty, but in Sussex the air was dry - dry and perfectly still.  The smoke rose from the chimney of the small drawing-room at Mapes Court in a tall, unwavering plume, a hundred feet before its head drifted away in a blue mist to lie in the hollows of the downs behind the house.  The leaves were hanging yet, but only just, and from time to time the bright yellow rounds on the tree outside the window dropped of themselves, twirling in their slow fall to join the golden carpet at its foot, and in the silence the whispering impact of each leaf could be heard - a silence as peaceful as an easy death."

And so it is here this beautiful October morning - the quiet, the falling leaves, the pale woodsmoke, the hillside, even the old cemetery near our house.  I notice it all, I mean I pay close attention indeed, but I don't think I could write a paragraph like that if my life depended on it.  Instead I look and look, and paint and paint, and I tell myself that that is another kind of worthy description.  As a painter friend of mine says, "You can only do what you can do."  I take her advice and keep doing what I do.  Noticing, painting.  Reading. 

Love O'Brien, and you're making me want to re-read him, for the first time. He's just gorgeous in his writing and plot. Characters seem to fit their times so well, and they are are pleasure to spend time with.
Yes, his characters become old friends, so quickly. I find that they have stayed with me, even though as I re-read the novels I'm shocked to discover how many major and minor story lines I'd completely forgotten (not to mention their sequence) since the last time around. Thanks for checking in, Kim, as always.
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