On the absurdity of feminist

Her unisex temper would worsen
If as chairman she wasn't 'chair
She required that we ban
Those damned suffixes, 'man'--
So now she's become a wo

-S. Vanauken


One spring one of my students showed me her notebook,
in which she had written, "The only good artist is a dead one.
All artists should be shot after they have finished producing.
If they are allowed to live, they will start commenting on their works,
and I have never heard and artist say anything intelligent
about what he has done...

Beethoven had the right idea: he played one of his sonatas
for someone, and when he had finished, the person said,
'That's very nice, but what does it mean?'
And Beethoven sat down and played the whole thing over."

(A Circle of Quiet)


Rebirth? It must be a process of growth occurring after a death? Or, at least, a near death. I was thinking of that late last night; the revival of one's soul and health after being stagnant, moribund. My little ceramic pot sitting on my window sill holds a flowery plant. I am a horrible botanist- I have no idea what it is. But its blooms are a lovely shade of pink and it's very pretty. I am also a horrible gardener, but have tried to take care of it properly: I've watered it and talked to it. (The ferns and other things I have growing in various pots next to it are doing fairly well also. Except for the Mint, who is thoroughly dead, which is sad since it smelled delicious. It was supposed to be planted outdoors I was told, but I didn't think it mattered that much.) Because of my poor plant tending skills my little pink plant has had a pretty rough life. And the other day, it looked dreadful; definitely worse than usual. It's smooth stems were painfully drooping over and most of the petals had fallen off or had turned a ghastly ashen color. It looked as if it was gasping for breath-- its last dying breaths. I watered it again; which is my instinctive cure-all for every plant-ish kind of growing thing. But now it looked even worse, it was gasping for breath while melting in a puddle of water. A couple of mornings later I was very surprised to see it was alive. And- not only was it alive- but its stems were gracefully standing upright, with the delicate pink returned to its petals, as it gently bent towards the sun shining through the window. It looked marvelous. Strong. And so, that's what has drawn my mind down the path of contemplating birth, rebirth and regeneration. I wonder if it is true in every case-- if the life one lives after regeneration, is more beautiful than the life one had before?


"The bar silver and the arms still lie, for all that I know, where Flint buried them; and certainly they shall lie there for me. Oxen and wainropes would not bring me back again to that accursed island; and the worst dreams that ever I have are when I the surf booming about its coasts, or start upright in bed, with the sharp voice of Captain Flint still ringing in my ears: 'Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!'"

-Treasure Island


. . .

I am fond of encircling myself with the young: infants, children, bright faces- mostly ignorant of their existence- aware only of beauty, color, of laughter, of eating candy, of love. Perhaps one reason I do this, is my unconscious attempt to disguise my own terror of death and dying and of coping with it. I don't know. All I know is that- as a childhood quote comes echoing back to me, from the movie Pollyanna- "Death comes unexpectedly." The death of someone I know was felt last week. That reality was ushered in by the words of a friend who informed me, "___ died today." How can a whole life be extinguished in that one sentence- in that one single word- "died"? People pass away often. Yet when that death lands lands nearer home than the others that's when it is felt. And it hurts. "There is always the memento mori, the realization that death is contagious; it is contracted the moment we are conceived." (L'engle) This week, this Easter week, I am more conscious than ever that "all flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flowers of the field," that "man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow," but that "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ... But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

. . .