I am finishing reading “A Journal of Solitude” by May Sarton, a journey describing her time living alone in a small New Hampshire town in a manner that is both celebratory of her natural surroundings, while at the same time emotional rich with her own short comings with solitude and facing, as we all do at times, our inner doubts.
As the book described the changing seasons in New Hampshire, I tried to keep my reading in pace with her time. I watch the subtle clues Southern California has that time has elapsed and read a little more. Her writing is honestly brutal at times, but with such wealth of literary reference, and internal wisdom to justify the thought. One needs to read her slowly so one does not miss a landscape unfold, as easily as the sun curves around the forest growth one day to reveal the first spring daffodils.
I have ten paper bookmarks in this book to remind me to go back and re-read parts that stuck with me.
“Jung says, “The serious problems in life are never fully solved. If ever they should appear to be so it is a pure sign that something has been lost. The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in it’s solution but in our working at it incessantly. This alone preserves us from sultification and petrefaction”
page 176 July 7th
“To a great extent Thoreau wished to be and succeeded in being an island apart from the main. We are going to have to outgrow that myth that this is either possible or good. One reason I felt impelled to keep this journal for a year was because I think that Plant Dreaming Deep has created a myth of a false Paradise. Iwant to destroy that myth. In fact, I see myfunction as quietly destroying myths, even those of my own making, in order to come closer and closer to reality and to accepting reality…
In my lifetime I have seen one comforting myth after another taken apart as I, like everyone els, have tried to come to grips with the hard truth. We have had to accept civilized man as the most cruel of all animals, to recognize that, given absolute power, we all become sadists (the German camps, Lieutenant Calley, etc. ) , that wickedness is not a religious concept useful to terrify people into submission but an absolute reality, that each of us battles within the self. We have to accept that democracy in the United States has been imperceptibly taken over and transformed into government by cartels and power groups, including organized labor and the military, and has almost eluded the grasp of “the people”; so we are engaged in a dreadful war in which no one can believe and which we seem helpless to end. We have come to undestand that blacks, far from being “liberated”, are still oppressed in every possible wy. And now we are increasingly aware that women must fight a difficult and painful war for their autonomy and wholeness…
The marvel is that there are still so many people of courage who go on fighting in spite of these reasons for despair.”
That was written in 1973.
Here we are 40 years later, seemingly flowing along the same apathetic path.
Today I read from The Audacity of Despair, the post titled Dead children and monied politicians
“Our elections — and therefore our governance — have been purchased. Instead of publicly funded elections, instead of level playing fields, instead of processes in which the power of actual ideas prevails over the size of the bankroll, we have given our democratic birthright over to capital itself. A gun manufacturer’s opinion can be thousands of times louder than the voice of any grieving Connecticut parent”
Wake up people. Perhaps it’s time to gather some rocks. If all this reading leaves your head spinning, perhaps these visuals will explain the situation more directly.