Thursday, October 20, 2005

Leaning Into The Light

I returned the voluminous Arctic Dreams to the library yesterday. But not before committing to computer memory the author's reflections following a walrus hunt:

“No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture but within oneself . If there is a stage at which an individual becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.”

-Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams


Ron said...

Thanks Rachel - now I have yet another book to add to my immense stack of books that continues to go unread. Maybe I can get Melissa to read it and tell me all the good parts!

Rachael said...

Ron: I was surprised and delighted by this book. When I did a precursory look-over I thought I wasn't going to enjoy it- He spends a lot of time on description: different types of ice; the habits of polar bears, seals, whales (including the Narwhal, which Marshall thought was really cool when I read it to him), caribou; the geological remains of Native tribes. I thought I wanted a book that would speak to this indescribable something I've been feeling, that would feed my longing and confirm my thinking on the "sacramental nature of the physical world". I don't know what I was expecting, but I feared I'd not have the patience to read about polar bear dens or seal hunting. But it was amazing. Every time I read it struck me that what I was reading was exactly what I'd been looking for, only I hadn't known it. He's a very reflective and thoughtful man.

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