Thursday, December 07, 2006
An excerpt from My Garden Book by Jamaica Kincaid
People will go on and on about the beauty of the garden in winter, they will point out scarlet berries in clusters hanging on stark brown brittle branches, they will insist that this beauty is deep and unique; people try to tell me about things like “The Christmas rose…in bloom in December is really very beautiful,” but only in the way of a single clean plate found on a table many months after a large number of people had eaten dinner there; or again they tell me of the barks of trees, in varying stages of peeling, and the moss of lichen growing on the barks of other trees and the precious jewel-like sparkle of lichen at certain times of day, in certain kinds of light; and, you know, I like lichen and I like moss, but really to be reduced to admiring it because nothing else is there but brown bramble and some red stems and mist… It is so willful, this admiration of the garden in winter, this assertion that the garden is a beautiful place then…
But this is not true at all…I want to say to…[these people]. This is just something you are saying; this is just something you are making up. I want to say that at this very moment I am looking out my window and the garden does not exist, it is lying underneath an expanse of snow, and there is a deep, thick mist, slowly seeping out of the woods, and as I see this I do not feel enraptured by it. But you know, white is not a color at all…white only makes you feel the absence of color, and white only makes you long for color and only makes you understand that the space is blank and waiting to be filled up—with color.
My minister read this in a sermon about a year ago. That's really what I feel right about now. I'm tired of straining myself to admire lichen. So I guess I'm kind of hibernating right now. I hope that's ok.
Yes, I did.
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