Saturday, April 26, 2008

More from Prairie Erth

I'm still slowly making my way through Prairie Erth.
This stood out today...
This is like hard candy. It works best to read slowly and let it melt.

October 10: [notebook entry]
I'm sitting on a knobby hill with at least a six-mile view in every direction, the afternoon without winds as if they had been bound up, the grass stock-still, and I cannot see the slightest movement of anything anywhere: in the visible hundred-and-some square miles nothing is happening. It's as if the entire scene has been cast in a Steuben crystal sculpture and has been stopped except for the tiny scratching of my pencil across this notebook page -- good god, I'm the only thing happening here. Ten minutes later: no -- in my miniature vision I have been watching for visible events, not unseen processes. Significant "happening" is process occurring behind a screen of mere, if overwhelming, presences. What I see as stasis is, in fact, moving and if my pen wiggles along faster than the fractional creepings of the continental plate and rooted mats below me that are a slow and grand erasing of what I see now, its movement counts for little when compared against the imperceptibilities going on here, forces completely remaking this place second by second, inch by inch. A traveler (who cannot even remotely detect the thousand-mils-an-hour spinning of the planet he rides through space at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour, to say nothing of its solar and galactic movements and its precession) writes in his notebook nothing is happening. Man muses, God guffaws.

William Least Heat-Moon, Prairie Erth, page 293

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