Saturday, February 02, 2008

Once upon a time....

Husband and I had a fairly large library, accumulated over sixty years of marriage.

When we moved from the farm into town the Handy Man had installed a wall of shelves at the bottom of the stairs, and these expanded into book cases in the weaving studio, and the spare bedroom, and our own bedroom, - under coffee tables and in little stacks in various corners!!

When we moved again, from the big house in town to this nice retirement home on the back pasture, we not only left the Lost Garden, but also found we would never again have room for such a large collection of books. We sorted through them, keeping those which we couldn't bear to part with. The rest we put on shelves which we opened to family and friends, As long as they went out of the house without us seeing them, we were content. What was left we donated to the Bargain Centre, and probably some of them are still on the shelves there, awaiting the discerning reader.

Once more this week I sorted again, looking for books which would be appropriate for a Church Library. What a fine morning I spent at this task, - dipping into books that have been sitting on the bedside shelves, some untouched since we moved into this house; putting aside those that demanded to be re-read and handling with care those that have been opened and read intermittently over the last sixty some years.

The books of Teilhard de Chardin have sat unopened for some years, and I wondered as I fingered them what light Teilhard de Chardin would shed on the present day battle between the Materialists and the Spiritualists.

Alas, I found de Chardin to be labelled a dreamer, whose visions are viewed as impossible by the majority of modern researchers, and by some even derided as foolish. Stephen Jay Gould, before his premature death, appears to have struck the mortal blow which has branded de Charin as naive and outdated.

His dream of a reunion between materialism and religion lie in tatters, with perhaps only his vision of the "noosphere" claiming any legitimacy in the vast network of communication that covers the globe. Radio for the masses had only been available for some thirty years, and TV was in its infancy when Teilhard de Chardin died in 1955. The world wide web was not to be developed for another thirty-five years. And yet de Chardin had this vision of a world wide communication system providing ideas and inspiration, and in the end the remarriage of the material world with the spiritual. Perhaps he was naive, but I will still re-read the coffee ringed book by Bernard Delfgaauw entitled "Evolution - The Theory of Teilhard de Chardin" that I first underlined in the years when I was deeply enthused about philosophy.

Amongst the other books that I set aside to revisit are the following:

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, - a favourite which has guided me over the years.

Language and the pursuit of Truth by John Wilson - a wonderful book for anyone who loves words.

The River - by Rumer Godden, about whom the New York Times says "She uses the English language with the precise artistry of a miniature painter working on ivory, but always with such a sure touch, such firm restraint, that her prose never becomes artificial or precious". And I do fear at all times that I may fall into the error of being "precious".

Tickets for a Prayer Wheel, by Annie Dillard. "He kissed me when shadows were long on the path to the orchard; he promised to meet me again when the apples were in; now when the wind parts the curtains, now in the city when the cat won't come, I sleep with only one eye shut, keeping a weather eye out.".
And for fun and entertainment - "A window over the Sink" by Peg Bracken (full of memories) and "The English Gentleman's Wife" by Douglas Sutherland. A comment from the book "A Guernsey Charlady: A lady called when you was out-no, I didn't come to 'er name - but I know she was a lady as she was covered in joolery and smelt of sherry".

And for sentiment "Those who Love " - love poems by Sara Teasdale.

When will I get any knitting done?????

BTW - the Groundhog did not see his shadow here in the Similkameen today. Call me a gol darned optimist, but I do expect to see Spring lingering in the folds of the hills, spying out the land, - all about next week!


Willo said...

I love reading about your books and that you call them by name is all the better.

Irish1 said...

Spring?! I sure hope so. I can't handle much more of the weather I'm getting up here. Too cold! So hopefully spring will be on the horizion when I come for tea next weekend!