Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Literary Renewal

I read a book the other evening. A whole book. Perhaps novella is a more precise term, but there is something so wholesome about devouring a book in it's entirety, in one sitting. The book was, The Pearl, by John Steinbeck. It was sad, and beautiful, and startlingly real. It brought with it memories of days spent analyzing themes, and looking for all the nuances that give a story life.
There was a line near the beginning that struck me deeply, a line that can sum up so much: "It was a morning like other mornings and yet perfect among mornings." From that point on I was all in. I underlined, I wrote in the margins. I was the me that I always am but scarcely see anymore in the every day. And yet, there in that line, it was all there so clearly.
I used to write in my journal every day. I saw there the chance to preserve the fact that every day is its only self. Time is so fleeting, so hard to value. It can seem like monotony, or like an endless rush. Without pausing to remind myself, this is real, this is happening, this is now, it can evaporate into a long stream of other days. Memories cease to be individual and become more a feeling of eras. Mornings are like mornings. A walk, a shower, a bowl of cereal. Humdrum, and frail in their transience.
I can actually sum up eras in time based on breakfasts. In childhood there were bowls of bananas with sugar, pancakes or french toast or waffle weekdays made by Dad. Cold cereal Saturdays poured by me during cartoon commercial breaks. Sundays with coffee cake or cinnamon rolls freshly baked by Mom. In college, early mornings in the cafeteria after working on the janitorial crew and watching the sun rise, before curling back up in bed to sleep another hour before chapel. At Janet's house I ate muffins in the early mornings before going to the mill. In Hong Kong I usually had toast with Nutella and peanut butter, or corn flakes, or Digestive cookies. Salem was all about Great Harvest sweets from work. Alaska meant doughnut Sundays, and cold cereal through the week. In Czech I indulged in rich yogurt with granola, or freshly made baked goods from Hypernova. These days I eat a whole lot of sugary puffed wheat cold cereal. Not afraid of gluten around here. Odd? Probably.
I could actually categorize life by lunches as well. I'm a creature of habit. And lazy. So I deal nicely with routine because it makes things faster, easier, and more safely predictable. These mornings, they blend, and mix, and are hard to differentiate, and yet each is a gift. The start of a new day. Perfect among mornings.


Lisa said...

I remember the janitorial crew mornings, and lunch in the cafeteria. These days, every Saturday before church, I get up early and make the family a hot breakfast - rolls, pancakes, muffins, whatever. It's our tradition, and I love it. :-)

Transient Drifter said...

You are far more ambitious than I, Lisa. :)