Unreal Nature

September 18, 2015

See the Grey Come Through the Window

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:45 am

… One can sigh and, dropping back against the pillow, feel for a moment the house and all its sleeping occupants, like a good ship driving on through time.

This is from The Lost Notebooks of Loren Eiseley edited by Kenneth Heuer (2002, 1987):

… I write this record with a sense of haste. I write it as shipwrecked men on islands toss messages into the current and stand and watch the bottles bob away and vanish into unknown seas. I am marooned on a sandspit in time at the far end of an obscure and brutal century. I shall never escape.

… Over me when I build my campfire on the beach is the enormous unplumbed night of space. In my head is another darkness where bog lights glow in forgotten marshes and the sleeper writhes and cries out in his sleep.

… the wish strikes me to leave a record, the record of a castaway’s thoughts: of the stones he lifted up and flung down, of the things hiding under the stones, of the world island, of bones and searches, of great rivers and difficult crossings, of the shifting of shapes in the forests, of the waiting for ships, of hope in bad years and despair in good …

… it is this story of the world island, its emergence into time and space through the medium of a single brain — as it dawns once, and only once, for every man and is alike and yet different for all men. To each his island: mine is here under the lamp. One can always, starting from sleep, lift up one’s hands to the nightlight and assure oneself there is no fur black upon them. One can sigh and, dropping back against the pillow, feel for a moment the house and all its sleeping occupants, like a good ship driving on through time. No trouble there. The clock ticks in the hall, and if you occasionally see the grey come through the window, no one will know. A little coffee at breakfast will efface the marks of the night.

My most recent previous post from Eiseley’s book is here.

-Julie

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