ianuarie 04, 2011

Winter Afternoons

No philosopher has ever influenced the attitudes of even the street he lived on,” Voltaire was reputed to have said. That’s not what I believe. With deep winter upon us and the weather growing colder, even the wood smoke out of the neighbors’ chimneys could be described as philosophizing. I can see it move its lips as it rises, telling the indifferent sky about our loneliness, the torment of our minds and passions which we keep secret from each other, and the wonder and pain of our mortality and of our eventual vanishing from this earth. It’s a kind of deep, cathedral-like quiet that precedes a snowfall. One looks with amazement at the bare trees, the gray daylight making its slow retreat across the bare fields, and inevitably recalls that Emily Dickinson poem in which she speaks of just such a winter afternoon—windless and cold,...

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