Beyond the Fields We Know

My brain is feeling alternately empty and overly full. We’re going on a vacation to California this weekend, so I’m full of lists and plans and things to do. Which has made my brain seemingly empty of much else.

I had a post cooking in there about education based on an interesting thread on an editing discussion board. I have several drafts I could finish. I could go outside and take pictures of the beautiful flowers and plants growing madly all around and tell you all about them. Heck, I could take a couple shots of my cats and write the most boring post ever:

Eat. Drink. Poop. Scratch. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Repeat.

I’ll spare you that one.

Stained glassImage via Wikipedia

Instead, I think I’ll use one of those lurking drafts to fill the empty blog void in my brain. I’ll share some gems from one of my all-time favorite books, Little, Big by John Crowley.

Our heroine is taking her morning bath, in my ideal bathroom*:

The Gothic bathroom had filled with steam. Its sort of Gothic was really more woodland than church; the vaulting of it arched above Daily Alice’s head and interlaced like meeting branches, and everywhere carven ivy, leaves, tendrils and vines were in restless biomorphic motion. On the surface of the narrow stained-glass windows, dew formed in drops on cartoon-bright trees, and on the distant hunters and vague fields which the trees framed; and when the sun on its lazy way had lit up all twelve of these, bejewelling the fog that rose from her bath, Daily Alice lay in a pool in a medieval forest. Her great-grandfather had designed the room, but another had made the glass. His middle name was Comfort, and that’s what Daily Alice felt. She even sang.

Our heroine’s mother is cooking, experiencing something similar to what happens to me when I wash dishes:

Mother was powdered to the elbows in the process of pie-making, not a mindless task though she liked to call it that, in fact she found that at it her thoughts were often clearest, notions sharpest; she could do things when her body was busy that she could at no other time, things like assemble her worries into ranks, each rank commanded by a hope. She remembered verses sometimes cooking that she had forgotten she knew, or spoke in tongues, her husband’s or her children’s or her dead father’s or her unborn, clearly-seen grandchildren’s, three graduated girls and a lean unhappy boy.

Our hero meets our heroine for the first time:

The more he looked at her the stronger [the feeling] grew, the more she looked at him the more he felt . . . what? In a moment of silence they simply looked at each other, and understanding hummed, thundered within Smoky as he realized what had happened: not only had he fallen in love with her, and at first sight, but she at first sight had fallen in love with him, and the two circumstances had this effect: his anonymity was being cured. Not disguised, as [his friend] George Mouse had tried to do, but cured, from the inside out. That was the feeling. It was as though she stirred him with cornstarch. He had begun to thicken.

*Ideal only if I can hire someone to clean it, especially all the little nooks and crannies of all that lead came.

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8 Comments

Filed under Books, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Beyond the Fields We Know

  1. This sounds like a book I’d like to read. I love the way the the bathroom is described. I hope you have a wonderful vacation.

  2. I do hope you have a great/wonderful vacation… but the stress leading up to it is sometimes unbearable.
    “Stirred him with cornstarch…” What a delightful image!

  3. Have a great time! I’d quite like those bathroom windows, I think.

  4. How lovely. I think I’d like to read that book too. Thanks for the mental images. Blessings.

  5. Bex

    “Eat. Drink. Poop. Scratch. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Repeat.”
    I long for a life like that.
    I’m a dishes girl too & the shower. Must be a water thing.
    I enjoyed reading you very much.
    More please…Xxx

  6. Alida

    Have a wonderful vacation. I miss California…sometimes.

  7. Enjoy your California get away, see ya when ya get back:)

  8. What a beautiful book. I love the description of more woodland Gothic than church gothic. Have a great holiday – hope you get some good clear mindspace out of it.

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