Tuesday, October 11, 2016

October 11: Shreds of Creation, Ophthalmologist, Meaning

What I am to do is not so much learn the names of the shreds of creation that flourish in this valley, but to keep myself open to their meanings, which is to try to impress myself at all times with the fullest possible force of their very reality . . .

What Dillard is talking about here is what all writers do.  Yes, we like being concrete, specific.  Instead of saying "flower," we prefer "amaryllis."  Names are important.  But, more than names, we search out meaning.  Yes, the amaryllis is beautiful.  But so what?  We may write about the pink star of its petals, or we may write about our classmate named Amaryllis in second grade, how she wore the same torn pair of jeans every day for a full year.  There's name, and then there's meaning.

I just found out that a friend of mine died today.  He'd been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer over a year ago.  Never smoked a day in his life.  Was trim and athletic, a former Navy man.  Funny and accomplished.  He was an ophthalmologist, spent his days trying to make people's lives easier, better.  Went to church.  Loved his family.  Gone.

I guess that I'm looking for meaning in loss.  That's something I've been struggling with for quite some time.  In books, loss generally isn't a random thing.  The man dying of lung cancer smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and beat his wife.  There's a sense of justice in books.  Usually.  In real life, loss is random.  The illness doesn't always match up with the person, if you get my meaning.  In fact, most of the time it doesn't match up.

So, the word for tonight is "loss."

Can anybody explain to Saint Marty the meaning behind it?

Gone too soon . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment