12 February 2005

in a word

from The Stones of Summer by Dow Mossman:

“Well then,” she said, “I think it’s almost pure-dee simple finally. I think he was just another mad, run-of-the-mill old Celt, like me, like you I suppose, looking for a place, another deserted wood to stone himself off from them for awhile. For another hill to make walls on. The Celts you know,” she said, “were the Indians and weed smokers of Europe for centuries.”

“Awww, you never tell me anything,” Dawes Williams said, “ ‘Them,’ Who’s all these ‘they’ at least? Tell me about ‘them.’ ”

“Why, Dawes, they’re the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans,” she said, “and the Greeks and the Romans, and they haven’t even got the shit off their shoes yet for thinking about government and concrete hats all the time. You’ll find out about them all right, you won’t be able to help yourself, but when you do, just remember—just go about your business and pretend they was only passing through.”

In the weave of silence, a basket of tall blowing grass, her voice had stopped; but she was still looking at him so intently he had for a moment the illusion that she was still speaking. It was soft, nearly recognized, going through him cold as a knife.

“Is that what you think?” Dawes finally said.

“That, in a word, is what I think.”

“That sounds fine, that doesn’t sound like any word I ever heard,” he said, “but what does it mean?”

“You’re the best student I ever had, in fact the only,” she said, “but I can’t explain that. Fact is, if I had to, you wouldn’t be. You sense it, that’s enough. It’s blood thinking. It’s what they call intuitive, a priori thinking.”

“I don’t understand that either.”

“That’s all right, too,” she said, “no need to, ever, and you sense it, and you’ll figure it out some day and remember me by it. That’s enough.”

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