“But Lydgate’s discontent was much harder to bear; it was the sense that there was a grand existence in thought and effective action lying around him, while his self was being narrowed into the miserable isolation of egoistic fears, and vulgar anxieties for events that might allay such fears.”
-- George Eliot, Middlemarch
I’ve often had the feeling Eliot describes here, the feeling that something sprawling and powerful stretches out from me on all sides, something as full of force and grandeur as the gatherings of stars above us. It feels sometimes like I’m living at the center of an infinite field full of life, and the fullness is all mine to love and enjoy. This is “the grand existence” that Eliot speaks of, and that I so often miss in my life, although it’s always there, around and beside and inside me. I miss it because I’m usually making such a fuss over my so-called “personal” issues, trying so hard to be helpful to my little disadvantaged self, that I snub the spectacle surrounding me. In taking such good care of Hamilton Salsich, I thoughtlessly brush off the splendor that lives in all things, from the lighthearted sparrows in the bushes beside our house, to the stones in fields I sometimes pass, to the gangs of stars roving above us.
|"St. Augustine Gate", watercolor, by Chris Ousley|