Perelandra

Things I was struck by this time:

-how much description there is. Things are imagined, but so vividly imagined that he can describe on and on: the flora, the atmosphere, the fauna, angelic misapprehensions, so many things. A lot of this book is description of the strange world, and even when you think it is all over, he goes on describing entirely new things on the dry land.

-the psychological stages Ransom goes through. What states of soul might a man wrestling all night with God go through–you may ask. I think Lewis comes close to describing all of them during Ransom’s night of decision. And then the stuff in the tunnel, the stuff on the fish, the various encounters . . .

-how immensely learned. The seaweed eating is from Ovid, I gather. But how many other things about angels, and other beings, and so much more. Of course, it is a book about spiritual warfare, as the beginning shows, but how much of his own thinking goes into it: stuff from Screwtape and other meditations. Besides that, all his learning, all the stuff he’s read, all the allusions and references he makes.

-the structure and pacing of the book. In all that he does, all that he does remains interesting, makes sense, dawns on the reader or does not obstruct or detract. That may be the effect of reading it many times and reading a lot of Lewis, but I never remember it being anything but an enjoyable and smooth book even from the first distant readings of my greater than present ignorance. It makes me old every time.

Interrogative

One of the chaps I read said that Nestorianism (I think it was Nestorianism) was the complement to Pelagianism. That the Christ of Nestorius provided the salvation for the humans of Pelagius. I don’t see that.

Here are two things I do see: the absolute transcendence of Plato’s notion of God needs to be tamed by Scripture. (Apparently, process thought thinks this is a Greek intrusion and not revealed. However, I think the book of Job is a good refutation of that.) Anyway, you have that sort of inexpressible transcendence and also the immanence of our benevolent Creator, and you have something you can deal with. If you leave it alone, Chadwick suggests, you get the impulse that leads to Arianism. I can see that. Hence is created son, a sort of first and intermediary, bridging the gap.

The other thing I see comes from Dawson. The monothelite controversy is about unity. That overdone passion for unity, for absolute singularity is the impulse that later gives rise to Islam, the religion of God’s absolute unicity (am I making up that term or did he use it?). Anyway, I see that too. Zeal for unity at the expense of all else, sweeping everything into submission with its uncreated decrees.

But I don’t see the first thing. Do you?

Culture Shock

When I taught in Colombia, I taught a more or less even mass of people all of whom were quite happy to be spoon fed. There were among them a few who aspired to more, but their aspirations did not ordinarily rise very high. There were trained people among them, but they remained peripheral, and what one taught was the even mass of those happy to learn as long as it involved no great effort on their part.

Such people, I think, will usually be most of the congregation. It has its advantages and its frustrations, but it is the reality with which any teacher has to deal. And a good teacher aims to bring them along as far as is possible. What is more difficult here is that there is quite a larger number of the more keen and admirable. Because they are admirable and eager, one is tempted to draw ahead with them, leaving the mass behind.

The shock comes here: I have had response to my teaching above what I expected. I had one elder show up for class yesterday with the first volume of the 38-set, Ante, Nicene and Post collection. I had people asking about the reference in a text I was talking about; I didn’t have it, this guy looked it up and read the footnote for us, prompting a small and rather esoteric exchange. I also had the experience later on in which somebody just off the top of his head challenged my reading of something Eusebius of Caesarea wrote. It came form an unexpected quarter–a young father of five who is not in any kind of academic job and is learning Greek to be able to home school his kids to read Greek and who is patiently working his way through those 38 volumes during his lunch at work (and, morevover, has not given up on Irenaeus of Lyons after going a good way in).

It represents a challenge and a temptation for me, for this reason: what motivates me, I have come to understand, is honor. I seek honor the way some seek money or pleasure. Like those who seek money or pleasure, those of us who seek honor must understand what real honor is. Like treasures in heaven, or solid joys and lasting pleasure, the honor those of us who are moved by it should aspire to is the honor of God. That goes for this circumstance of teaching, in which there are various sources for gratifying one’s quest for honor, but only one that really counts.

I do not want to be shown up in class–though there is honor in humility. At the same time, I can’t leave the bulk of the people dangling. The solution is to honor God–not that that is as easy as it sounds. One hates to be the sort of teacher who gives up on those who are really hungry in order to feed those who will eat what is put in their mouth but no more (was it Plato who talked about it, letting the eager teach themselves, leaving the dullest behind, helping the middle class? I don’t agree with him–not yet at least). One has a duty to the majority of the class, on the other hand, that seems incompatible with the personal satisfaction of climbing higher with the few who would provide the joy and camaraderie of more competent exhilarations. But God sits over it all, calling those who teach to teach every group well. Not to leave the eager alone, not to leave the slow behind, but somehow to provide all things for all of them.

It is, perhaps, one of those things which is placed before us in order to try us by being too great for a present satisfactory solution, but edifying in that is stretches us more than we would because it makes us try to overcome what cannot be overcome in this life. I think a lot of this life is like that, and that it is a mistake to give up just because the problem appears intractable. After all, we are not made for just this present, most limited, and altogether brief phase of our existence. It is a training ground, and a nursery, and we will grow out of it and begin the real task of our existence after this part is all settled and done with. Does it not stand to reason that if we are to be greater beings in the resurrection, that we are therefore presently as children are to the outsized furniture of adults in our present circumstances? I think it is an important part of the Christian attitude to realize that this life is in not the settled part of our existence. And I wonder if this problem of teaching with a more mixed group is not part of that. I do not believe there will be less, but more hierarchy in our lives in the world to come, and I believe that very much.

(And I have been listening to Perelandra, hence my diction.)

Anyway, it has left me with a bit of culture shock and something to think about. I had forgotten, so long has it been since I’ve taught, how much energy teaching requires. I have the week off for an Easter breakfast next week, and books coming due that I can’t renew, and this consideration as I work on the lesson plan. Enough to keep one’s life engaged.

The Pittsburgh

I went to Pittsburgh to visit an IKEA, see the many steel bridges, the city and the Frick. The Frick is small, like Dayton, but rewarding. At the car museum I asked the friendly chap how one got into the art museum. “Through the front door, sir,” he deadpanned. I think the most modern work of art there is the building, which is unusual, and refreshing. The grounds of the park are very nice, and the weather being what it is . . .

I took along Scruton’s Our Church. He’s so good for traveling with. Insightful, engaging, thought-provoking, challenging. This book is a companion to England: An Elegy. It is another elegy. His point again, as in the first elegy, is that like Athens of old, England was a gift of God to all humanity. And he is helping us to store up memories, before the thing is lost and must be retrieved through archaeology.

We had a remote-controlled gas fireplace in our rooms and the weather cool and rainy the night we were there. That was a first time, and I’m not sure anymore that a fake fire with gas is such a bad idea. It warms things to a jolly state while you read, and you’re not always working at making the thing blaze and adding wood.

We listened to Perelandra on our way through Ohio, sad and decaying Wheeling, and the rather baffling overpasses, tunnels and bridges of Pittsburgh. I thought I’d read all there was to read in Perelandra, but I was wrong. His books are so immensely learned, so staggeringly so. I was struck this time by how dense the thinking seems to be, how much reasoning in conversations takes place, how much description of the strange new landscape, and how little action for half the book. One of the definite disadvantages of listening to a recording is one doesn’t pause to think about things. I have been doing that a lot in my reading on the early Church.

I took a bit of a break from that, but now I have a much-anticipated good one before me: Henry Chadwick, Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition.

Spring

The standing water is clear and deep. Everywhere you hear the calls of birds, morning and evening. I’ve seen robins hopping solemnly in the fields for weeks: when the fields were brown, when they were drowned, and now that they’re green with unruly, tufted but still short grass. The stark branches of winter have become bumpy and blurred. And in places you can already see the tender green haze of Spring’s early musings.

Bring Back Winter

Bring back Winter

A strange and distant fervor

The arts have failed; fewer people are interested in them every generation. The mere business of living, of making money, of amusing oneself, occupies more people more and more, and makes them less and less capable of the difficult art of appreciation. When they buy a picture it generally shows a long-current idea, or some conventional form that can be admired in the lax mood one admires a fine carriage or fine horses in; and when they buy a book it is so much in the manner of the picture that it is forgotten, when the moment is over, as a glass of wine is forgotten. We who care deeply about the arts find ourselves the priesthood of an almost forgotten faith, and we must, I think, if we would win the people again, take upon ourselves the method and the fervour of a priesthood. We must be half humble and half proud. We see the perfect more than others, it may be, but we must find the passions among the people. We must baptize as well as preach.

-the Poet Yeats, 1901

Sunset

 We went to the conservatory last evening. We walked in the surrounding grounds as the sun set. There were many clouds, and these were tinged with the rosy orange of the setting sun. There is also the steely bright and gold you get, and above it the deeper brooding blue, the grey of the clouds and the softer white. Beyond it all is the paler blue of the sky itself.

The sun touched the winter branches of the trees, and fell also on the white steel and glass of the greenhouses. These structures are in the rounded shape and elegance that at least to me evokes the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The time of another sunset.

What stars will shine down on us, I wonder, when these evening skies have cleared. What conservatories under what glass.

O greedy men, what will satisfy you, if God Himself will not.

–Augustine

Withering into the Truth

One of the interesting suggestions Christopher Dawson makes is that Greek philosophy was a world philosophy in search of a world religion. The observation is interesting for various reasons:

1 One doesn’t have to know much about Greek philosophy to understand that it was often critical of pagan religion. Outside of the prophets of Israel, who but the philosophers criticizes the pagan deities? And it is an interesting comparison between the prophets and the philosophers. I’m looking to substantiate the marriage of attitudes in the writings of the apologists.

2 It helps explain in broad terms what is happening in those first five centuries of the church. Works like the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas strike me as notably intellectually inferior to the writings of Paul. Paul was bright, but after him, the writings kind of dive off a cliff. That may be my misguided impression: I have to go back and look with better care. But if I’m right, then the subsequent generations didn’t really cultivate thought as devotedly as perhaps they could have. After all, from AD 70-130 what is happening is that Christians are pulling away from the original Jewish roots. They were considered a sect of Judaism at first, but they’re pulling apart, and as a result they’re loosing, it seems to me, Jewish education–Jewish traditions of thought and study. They have to look elsewhere when they realize they need to think.

3 Gnosticism, it seems to me, is the pagan attitude toward religion entering to gawk in the church. Pagans didn’t really make fine distinctions over theological points. They weren’t too happy with Socrates for trying to think about theological order. And the Gnostics seemed to have that attitude as well, but not about pagan gods. The Gnostics came along, like a pagan with a stupendous idea about this or that, and they found themselves oddly offending the Christians in whose midst they were. Christians had to meed the challenge somehow: who is God, who is Christ, what is Christ, what is salvation, what is sin.

4 Which is theology. The first great challenge once they were outside of the incubator of Judaism was the Gnostic challenge, and it was a challenge demanding clarity on authority in the church. Who teaches, what do they teach, where do they get it from. So you get Ireneaus who is a thinker, responding at the time and not a moment too soon. Gnosticism demanded theology, and with theology a canon, interpretation, and organizaton of your theological thought. You have an early figure, in the movement toward theology: Justin Martyr. He thinks Plato plagiarized Moses (I think it was Porphyry thought Moses plaigiarized Plato, which shows how much the two strands have interpenetrated a century and a half later). He’s not so great a philosopher or thinker, Justin, but he’s a beginning. Then Clement of Alexandira, searching for a good teacher, finding one, becoming a real thinker in the church. Clement’s thought is strange and no doubt if I studied Philo more, I’d make more sense of Clement, but he was a thinker. After him comes the great genius of his time and a figure of the stature of the great Plotinus: Origen of Alexandria. There Hellenic thought enters the church irreversibly, and you have in Alexandria the beginnings of deep theological thought, in time for the fourth century and the great councils and very deep theology. Then the Cappadocians, who studied in Athens, and in the Latin West at last those figures that bring the classical tradition and the Christian together definitively: Augustine of Hippo and Jerome.

Which is where Dawson started us. It sets the stage for what comes after.

And now, to end it all, some of that old pagan Yeats:

THOUGH leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

Two Philosophers

The first one is William B. Irvine and he teaches at Wright State, in Dayton. For many years he was teacher of Philosophy, concerned with explaining, I suppose, and showing, and theoretical things; but then he started thinking about life. A philosophy concerned with better living is not something you hear about nowadays, but it was common in better times. Apparently Irvine tried some Zen and did not find it suited his analytical personality, so he tried the Stoics and found they did. He’s written a book with a brief historical overview, then explanation of the basic ideas, then advice for becoming a fully functioning modern-day Stoic. It is an interesting book.

A Guide to the Good Life: the Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

The Stoics flourished in Rome, the ideas being imported from Greece where it began once Zeno decided the Cynics didn’t have it quite right. If you want a few big names of Roman Stoics: Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. The goal of the Epicureans was pleasure–philosophically achieved–and the goal of Stoics, then, was tranquility. Irvine explains how they attempted to achieve a life of tranquility. Himself being for some years now a functioning Stoic, he can offer practical advice to this practical philosophy.

The second philosopher I’ve been reading is Roger Scruton. He’s just come out with a novel called Notes from Underground. It is set in Czechoslovakia behind the iron curtain. Scruton was there several times during those times, and the sense of the place is real, and knowing Scruton, probably pretty accurate. The story is a story about love and desire, about masks and trust, about the mistrust that poisoned everything in communist societies, about the absence of God and the need for him, about the false triumph of the West with its fangless kitsch.

It is an aching, poignant, luminous, intriguing and insightful way for Scruton to make the points he labors elsewhere to make, and it is more. There are many things from his other books I found in this one, but this time they’re put into settings, shown rather than told, and combined to create a haunting tragedy. I don’t see how it could be a popular triumph, but it is a triumph because it is ambitious and it succeeds.

What Scruton does in this book is another lament, an elegy for something that badly and barely survived under communism but which does not appear to be doing better after it. This book seem to me another chord in his late labor of mourning for Western Civilization.

The Best Uncommon Knowledge Ever

Two Bits

I go to Target on Saturday mornings and I write. It has been prosperous to do so. They have a little area out of the way, with windows and no music at all. They provide no plugs–all the plugs are on the ceiling out of reach. It is as good a place as any to write, whenever you don’t have annoying people, and there seldom are from 8-10AM on Saturday.

I read an article on the Imaginative Conservative in July or August which put me off of background music–she said it interfered with the imagination and I didn’t see much in the way of a reason, but she was otherwise reasonable so I tried it out to see what fruit the experience would bear. I think she’s right, and I attend to music a lot better now. I don’t tune out and look for other things to do. Not that I’m against background music, but I don’t put music on so much, not every chance I get.

A Prayer On Going Into My House

GOD grant a blessing on this tower and cottage
And on my heirs, if all remain unspoiled,
No table or chair or stool not simple enough
For shepherd lads in Galilee; and grant
That I myself for portions of the year
May handle nothing and set eyes on nothing
But what the great and passionate have used
Throughout so many varying centuries
We take it for the norm; yet should I dream
Sinbad the sailor’s brought a painted chest,
Or image, from beyond the Loadstone Mountain,
That dream is a norm; and should some limb of the Devil
Destroy the view by cutting down an ash
That shades the road, or setting up a cottage
Planned in a government office, shorten his life,
Manacle his soul upon the Red Sea bottom.

-the Poet Yeats

Toward Spring

We are emerging from the deep of winter here. Light and geese are flooding us now. I drive through Dublin and crossing the Scioto see birds. Geese of course, but also seabird looking birds, and many. They wheel over the broad river, over the white of snow and the upright grey of winter’s trees. The river flows under them, dark and gleaming both, like time.

* * *

I’m listening to Luke Johnson on mysticism and he is careful, factual and philosophical. After a few duds with the teaching company I’ve hit a string of pretty good ones who want to impart understanding, a correct attitude toward the subject. Good things on late antiquity especially, on the foundations of Western Civilization. They know something about the objects of knowledge, have philosophy.

Speaking of philosophy, the hard thing with the early church is not to wander too much off into studying Stoics and the great Plotinus. Time is getting short on me, however. There’s nothing as complex as the Monophysite controversy in the early centuries. Gnosticism is relatively shallow and unexciting. Things had to develop, of course, and that is where someone already pretty well developed like Plotinus seems so much more interesting. Not that it’s uninteresting. Still, what’s Justin Martyr beside, for example, Gregory of Nazianzus? The way to look at it perhaps is to note how he influences Neoplatonism, which in turn later informs Augustine.

I have a good book on Stoicism. And I have Dawson and Brown. If it weren’t for writers like Henry Chadwick and Christopher Dawson, the going would be heavy. They bring clarity, light, the Hellenistic attitude, philosophy.

* * *

There are four not altogether orthodox responses to the position of Nestorius (which I only recently myself finally understood): 1 divinity and humanity are mixed into a third single nature, 2 humanity is the principle of unity while divinity is absorbed, 3 divinity is the principle of unity while humanity is absorbed, 4 there is one united nature with a dynamic continued existence of humanity and divinity within (this according to a valuable tome named Late Antiquity). That fourth is called Miophysite, and it is still believed by what are called Oriental Orthodox churches. I ran across it studying a mosaic of the empress Theodora, an interesting personage of late antiquity who clave to the Miophysite expression. It seems to be an almost orthodox position with hererodox formulation–unless someone can demonstrate otherwise to me. The great problem with it appears to be not that it is insufficiently Calcedonian, but that it tends to tip over into option 2 above. It is unstable, in other words, more than it is, in its practical effect, bad doctrine. It is a curious thing. I have the Logos library with 1400 volumes of commentaries, dictionaries and periodicals. When I search ‘miophysite’ I get nothing. That is not a defect in that collection, it is the Western tradition.

Nestorius, as you may know, disliked the term Theotokos and seems to have formulated his position as a denial of that fact. Cyril, who resisted him, seems to have spoken in terms that lent themselves to the cause of the Miophysites. And all that is without dealing with the hot issue of Origenism (which comes back to Justinian! who could attract talent, who codified Roman law and employed great architects, but who shut down the Academy in Athens and who destroyed a good deal of Origen’s works).

I can’t wait to teach a class on the Monophysite controversy.

Men at Forty

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His father’s tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.

–Donald Justice

The Red Keep, by Allen French

This is a good story at the very least because Allen French was a historian and the historical detail is worth it. Two examples of many: the crowded conditions in which people in a castle lived and the social order of the Middle Ages. One of the things that French perhaps overindulges is instruction. But it is interesting–he points out things the reader would not notice that the characters in the story live with, such as the lack of privacy in the surroundings of a castle. He brings these things alive in the situations of his book, and they don’t come up as unnecessary adornments. What is really well done and done gradually, like a theme that keeps being developed throughout the book, is the social order of the middle ages. French works it into a major theme of the work, and it is splendid. Clearly he is sympathetic rather than hostile to the order of medieval society. It is worth seeing how he shows the glories and benefits of a medieval order, from peasant to aristocrat, from guildsman to outcast.

He is in sympathy with the lack of squeamishness that life involved as well. There is a lot of fighting and killing in this book, but these things are told almost as if they were technical tips about things one takes into account in the heat of battle. I don’t know what kind of experience French had, and I certainly know nothing about fighting myself, but he seems very persuasive in his descriptions of how battles and confrontations play out. He’s detailed on the armor and its purposes, but not tediously so. I think some of the ingenious siutations that come about must be the fruit of historical research–that he’s often retelling stories and bits and situations he’s taken and adopted for his own (he takes from Invanhoe, and maybe he was a latter day Walter Scot).

Allen French is good with character. His storytelling is rather like that of the Sagas, and indeed, his Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow is a retold Saga. He also did Grettir the Strong. It means the telling is sparse, terse, quick to get to the point, including no uncessesary details or detours. There is little of atmosphere as a result, oddly, for all that he gives you the sense that you understand Medieval characters better. There is no psychological moiling about, no externalized inner states. It is a very businesslike writing, taking the reader through what is necessary, no more.

One of his weaknesses is that he seems to take little joy in evocative expression. So one does not read his stories for the words, but for the people and their situation–for the tale itself. It is nothing more than caring about how things turn out for these characters rather than haunting prose or unimaginably compelling descriptions. His descriptions are rather detached, intelligent, logical–and when it comes to the details of battle, somewhat clinical, which helps squeamish persons such as myself. I would be put out by the precision of the blows struck but that his object is never to impress those on me as much as to be careful about how things happened. French is good at that, good at planning things, connecting reasons, exhibiting changes of mind, making the psychological progress of his characters obvious. All with bare, straightforward prose. And he knows when the right few words are striking.

The bad are punished, the repentant are forgiven, the worthy are admired, the vile despised, the simple acquire subtlety and are rewarded, and the foolish are reduced. The story is a comedy very obviously heading toward marriage, and that also is happily achieved. One wants these things in stories: a rightness in the conclusion that is more than a clever ending. And it is that the ending is more than clever that gives it its high emotional impact. It is right. One wants an ending that was worth all the ups and downs of the story, one that affects one strongly rather than weakly. If at the end of the book one is unambiguously glad one read it and has obtained food for thought, it is a good book, whatever its faults.

I’m ready for another one by him.

Irregular

We proceeded, yesterday after the AM worship, into the church library where we around a table made profession of faith before the session.

Whenever I’ve done this before there has been a question regarding the mode of baptism and whether it occurred after my conversion. In this case, I didn’t expect anything because Presbyterians do not care about the mode or about the when. If you are baptized before you believe, they’re fine with that–that’s paedo-baptism.

But the question I received was whether the person baptizing me was an ordained minister. The reply is that he wasn’t. There followed many questions after that.

So now there’s a bit of doubt now in the air: was it legitimate, according to their views? Here’s what is odd: I’m trying to join a Presbyterian church. What if they decide it can only be done if I’m rebaptized?

I don’t think it will come to that. But just suppose it did:

1 – it would be a great chance for me to have a good knock-down-drag-out study of baptism with them which I’ve been keen on for a while. I’m sure they’re keen, it’s just the time. Maybe I’d become a Presbyterian after that, but probably not.

2 – if it did come to that, I’d probably have to try alternatives. There are alternatives, it’s just they would be worse. So I’d be approaching them as my second option because after a year or two, things had not worked out elsewhere. Not thrilling.

3 – I think what I would think much about would be a move to where I could be back in a Reformed Baptist congregation. I would seriously consider the option of just leaving and just going to where there was a church I am in agreement with. Maybe schedule some time off to give us time to travel and explore options.

Curious isn’t it? That it should come to that in a country like this–how it is in many places in the world. I’m studying the early church and whether or not this or that baptism was legitimate was an issue then, and has been since. I told the session about the se-Baptist from Baptist History: they were not altogether impressed.

Robert Alter Lectures

He Dreams a Lake

He tests the waters on a rocky shore. Mountains loom around the lake. The lake is big enough around, but is it deep? That’s hard to tell.

Along the shore in places, the water bubbles from the clay in pits and runs in gleaming strands between the rocks and sand. The water steams into the winter air with a sulfuric smell. There is as well, on the far shores, a place where a glacier coming down hangs over the water. The water there is black and tends to green. The warmer waters are an opaque blue tending toward a deeper blue. But on the whole the surface of the lake is dark.

He enters the water, examining the edges of the lake and shivering. Snow is drifting magically down, vanishing on the surface of the lake. He enters farther, is submerged and waits, floating with his head above the water, drifting deliberate but slow toward the warmer regions rather than the cold. The day is windless winter.

He finds the hot water, and the scalding, but there’s also the tepid water and the shock of cold. In these regions he remains, learning the lake, the layout, feeling currents begin to take on patterns. And he drifts toward the clearer colder water, plunges down, and for the first time opens his eyes beneath the surface. Gradually he comes to understand the upper underworld of the lake, forgets to surface, unaware of the transformation taking place in him. He nudges the depths and darknesses and cold, sinking deeper.

Beings swim there of which the surface knows little or nothing, and secret plants grow. He comes among them and begins to understand those regions and their ways. Twilight reigns, but it is a mingled twilight as he finds, in which light comes down in colors: moving, distorted, various and enchanting. He learns to see the currents, with their temperatures, to feel the slight changes which ripple through the deep, and he is drawn to the mysteries of the unimaginable depths below. As he descends, he breathes those mysteries, becomes more a creature of the depths, until he comes to the sand at the bottom where hard shelled creature scurry or creep slowly, unimaginably rich in grains of undisputed wealth.

The surface of the lake is calm above. The snow falls on the blue and green without a ripple now, and the smoke rises into the windless winter air to mingle with the insubstantial clouds.

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