Tuesday, March 06, 2007

if and as it could.

there was not a soul there but knew how shallow-rooted the whole town was. it flooded yearly, and had burned once. often enough the lumber mill shut down, or burned down. there were reports that things were otherwise elsewhere, and anyone, on a melancholy evening, might feel that fingerbone was a meager and difficult place.

so a diaspora threatened always. and there is no living creature, though the whims of eons had put its eyes on boggling stalks and clampled it in a carapace, dimished it to a pinpoint and given it a taste for mud and stuck it down a well or hid it under a stone, but that creature will live on if it can. so fingerbone, which despite all its difficultes sometimes seemed pleasant and ordinary, would value itelf, too, and live on if and as it could. so every wanderer whose presence suggested it might be as well to drift, or it could not matter much, was met with something that seemed at first sight a moral reaction, since morality is a check upon the strongest temptations.

marilynne robinson

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